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Tenwek Hospital Update

Tenwek Hospital Update

February 19, 2018

"Neither the during nor after pictures can fully portray the tragic feeling of the moment...the heat in the air, the huge flames filling the sky, the thick smoke and flying embers, the loud popping noises of glass and tiles and bricks giving way, the panic-stricken patients, the anxious children standing ready to evacuate the area, and the loud wails and screams from the observing crowd. We remain amazed at God’s protection....” - A Tenwek Hospital team member

Tenwek Hospital Fire


During the night of February 9th,  a fire broke out at Tenwek Hospital in Bomet, Kenya. Onlookers and hospital staff did their best to control the flames, but it seemed as if the whole building was lost along with valuable equipment. However, all was not lost, and in the wake of the disaster, many blessings have become evident. No one was hurt and the work of the hospital continues!

Angela Many, a missionary doctor at Tenwek Hospital wrote,

The fire broke out Friday evening in the hospital kitchen on the upper floor of a support services building with one small patient ward in the lower floor. All patients and staff were quickly evacuated as the fire engulfed much of a building that was very close to many other buildings, but it was miraculously contained, and much was spared.

During the fire…a baby’s open-heart surgery successfully continued, a newborn was safely delivered, critically ill patients were evacuated from and returned to ICU without incident, and all other patient wards, operating rooms, etc. remained unharmed. This is especially miraculous as we consider that there are very limited resources for fighting fires there, and that no formal fire services came for over an hour!

There has been a huge outpouring of help from the internal, local, and extended communities. A nearby hospital is helping with laundry, and the nursing school kitchen is being used to prepare patients’ food. People have worked around the clock to assess and provide for needs. Local politicians and news services have come to survey the damage and offer support.

Since the fire, online donations have been pouring in to support Tenwek. We are incredibly grateful for the response to the fire recovery efforts. As of today, your generosity has allowed World Gospel Mission and Friends of Tenwek to raise $61,870 for the fire recovery efforts at Tenwek Hospital. If you would like to continue to support the fire recovery efforts for Tenwek Hospital, you can donate online here.

Jon Steury, WGM's Africa regional director, said,

The upper floor was completely gutted by the fire and the roof was completely destroyed. However, on the bottom floor there was relatively minor damageincluding sparing the large commercial laundry and sterilizing machines. So, there is actually hope that the building can be renovated...and that the major equipment on the ground floor can continue to be used.... We thank God for that.

On Sunday afternoon, Carol Spears, the WGM Kenya director of Member Care, arranged for a “Post Crisis Event Debrief” and invited everyone in the missionary community to her back yard for a time of sharing/talking together. People were encouraged to tell their stories about how they found out about the fire, what they did, how they felt during the event, how they are feeling now, etc. It was a very good and, I believe, helpful time for people to just open up and share and get it off their chests.

Tenwek Hospital Cafe/Kitchen


In the aftermath of the fire, we can see restoration in hearts and the building of community. We can see the answer to the call to give through many generous donations. We can see the sparing of life and maybe even of the building. Most importantly, we see God’s hand actively at work providing for Tenwek Hospital and the many staff and patients in need. As the sign at Tenwek says, “We Treat, Jesus Heals.”

There is still much to be done for Tenwek Hospital to get back to where it needs to be. After evaluating the fire damage, the Tenwek team needs to raise an estimated $1.1 million to repair the damaged equipment, renovate the building and install a fire-fighting system. We are excited to announce that the Lord has provided the $1.1 million to restore what was lost in the fire at Tenwek Hospital.

We need your help! You can join the fire recovery efforts by: 

    • Praying for the Tenwek staff as they deal with the emotions of the traumatic event and undertake recovery efforts.
    • Praying for ongoing services under the current challenging conditions.
    • Praying for the fundraising efforts and for complete restoration to the hospital.

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