Members “miraculously” survive church collapse

The Church after its collapse on Sunday 15 January.

The Church after its collapse on Sunday 15 January.

Members of the International Holy Elyon Church miraculously escaped a church collapse caused by heavy rain and strong wind on Sunday evening in Kanyosha, Bujumbura.

Members of the Church say they were more than 50 people praying when a severe weather with heavy rain, violent wind and hail broke.

Amidst the bad weather, the believers say they were sure of their security until they saw walls start shaking before giving way.

“When we tried to run out the church, the wall on the side of the door totally crumbled and we all backed off. In the blink of an eye, two other walls collapsed. But, by providence, they fell outwards”, says prayer programme leader, Dickens Nzohabonayo, speaking for the Church.

Finally, the timberwork and sheet steel roof hit the ground.

The tragedy injured four churchgoers who were quickly taken to a nearby hospital. “They were shortly sent back home since the injuries were not found to be serious”, says Nzohabonayo.

The police, and later Red Cross workers, intervened to help.

For Nzohabonayo, “it was the hand of God that protected the members. It was not by our might that we were saved”.
The Church was a medium-size structure that was constructed of mud bricks with metal pillars to support the roof.
Bad weather often destroys roofs of classrooms and homes that are often with materials and in a way that make them susceptible. Houses of worship are usually stronger and bad weather-resistant.

Térence Ntahiraja, Assistant and spokesman for the Interior Ministry, calls on religious leaders to build their worship houses with strong materials to avoid such accidents which can claim lives of civilians.