07/08/13 15:34 CET
A major fire that broke out at the main international airport in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi has been brought under control.
The government has admitted that fire crews struggled to find water, with tankers having to be used to fetch supplies. It has promised to establish the cause of the fire, which started in the arrivals and immigration area.
The intense heat repeatedly drove back the poorly equipped firefighters. They battled for hours to put out the fire which partially collapsed the roof of the terminal building.
Passengers were evacuated and inbound and outbound flights to the airport were halted. This is peak season for tourists in Kenya, and imports and exports of goods were affected, so the economic repercussions could be big.
One South African passenger spoke to euronews about being stranded: “Our flight was supposed to be at seven o’clock this morning. We were heading to Cameroon but we’ve no idea what’s going to happen now. We’re still waiting for the offices to open and to see who can we connect to so we can get more info on where to go next.”
The blaze at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – a regional hub for East Africa – raged for hours before the emergency services were on the scene, according to eyewitnesses. Two people were reported to have been treated for smoke inhalation.
Domestic and cargo flights were due to resume using the cargo terminal.
Michael Kamau, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, said: “We are going to allow all departing cargo planes to leave, all the ones that are here at the airport, but we will not allow any incoming flights to come. We are going to open the airport for domestic passengers. There are very many passengers who are in Mombasa, Eldoret and other airports. We will start operations, flights from here to Eldoret to Kisumu and to Mombasa and other airports.”
The national flag carrier, Kenya Airways said overseas flights from London and from Bangkok would land at the airport as scheduled early on Thursday and travellers would be processed through the domestic terminal.
That small facility will be expanded with tents to create extra space for the passengers.
The fire coincided with the 15th anniversary of a twin attacks by Islamist militants on the United States embassy in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of neighbouring Tanzania.
But security analysts said there was as yet no indication of any link to Islamist militants that Kenyan soldiers are battling in neighbouring Somalia as part of an African Union force.
“It doesn’t bear the hallmarks of an al Shabaab operation but one never knows. It might be something new,” said a regional security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.
One Kenyan passenger at the airport said he heard two small explosions from the international arrival area.
“I was waiting for my flight around 5 a.m. (04.00 CET) when I heard two explosions, as if from a gas cylinder or electricity fault,” the man said.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut
- 2Ukraine: Mariupol digs trenches, prepares to defend city
- 3EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president
- 4Russia hits back at Canada after sarcastic jibe over Ukraine crisis
- 5Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’
- 1Rosetta the comet hunter arrives at its target | euronews, space
- 2Ellen MacArthur: making waves on a journey to a circular economy | euronews, the global conversation
- 3Hoverbike on the horizon | euronews, hi-tech
- 4Japanese company brings the beach lifestyle to business | euronews, world news
- 5Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’ | euronews, world news
- 6#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 7Earth Overshoot Day arrives earlier as we consume too much | euronews, economy
- 8US warns Russia that Ukraine aid delivery would be ‘viewed as an invasion’ | euronews, world news
- 9Renewing your driving licence within the EU | euronews, u talk
- 10Banking for everyone: Africa’s next big challenge | euronews, focus
- 11Russian aid convoy is ‘direct invasion’ says Ukraine | euronews, world news
- 12Elephants smell better | euronews, science
- 13Wikimedia says taking a selfie is monkey business | euronews, world news
- 14Hundreds of Ukranian troops retreat across border to Russia | euronews, world news
- 15Edward Snowden: after one year in Russia, what now for the NSA whistleblower? | euronews, world news
- 16No candidates are likely to thwart Erdogan, says polling analyst | euronews, news
- 17Islamists seize border post between Syria and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights | euronews, world news
- 18Voting in Turkey’s Presidential election underway | euronews, world news
- 19WW1 centenary day ends with ‘Lights Out’ across UK | euronews, world news
- 20Love learning, stop hating! | euronews, generation y
Wires > News
- 07:40 CET Macau ‘re-elects’ new leader as authorities stifle democratic…
- 05:04 CET Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city
- 04:57 CET Philippine peacekeepers rescued from militants on Golan -U.N
- 01:16 CET Lesotho PM says army staged coup, flees to South Africa
- 01:03 CET Seriously ill boy taken from UK hospital found in Spain – police
- 00:14 CET Islamic State militants behead captive Lebanese soldier – video
- 23:25 CET Modi seeks Japan’s help for ‘inclusive vision’ on first big trip
- 23:21 CET 22 miners rescued from Nicaragua gold mine after landslide