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Kenyans in the US in solidarity against Hurricane Florence’s devastation

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RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA,

Most Kenyans living along the coastal cities of North and South Carolina heeded calls to evacuate areas that were to bear the brunt of Hurricane Florence.

So far, no Kenyan has been reported dead in the aftermath of the hurricane that made landfall on Friday morning.

NO WAIT

One of them is John Wasike, who lives and works at a hotel in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Speaking to Sunday Nation from Kari, in Raleigh-Durham, Mr Wasike said he loaded in his car, certificates, memorabilia such as pictures and everything else he considered essential, and left at the crack of dawn on Thursday.

“I left Wilmington like a woman leaving home after a disagreement with her partner. I didn’t want to wait to see what happens because if something happens to me, nobody will know as there are not many Kenyans in Wilmington,” he said.

He is staying with his childhood friend from Kitale in Kari.

It’s understood that very few Kenyans live in coastal towns most affected by the hurricane.

Most of those in North and South Carolina live in Raleigh, Charlotte and Charleston.

NO DEATHS OF KENYANS

Florence made landfall as a hurricane near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on Friday morning.

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It is now a tropical storm but will continue to threaten North and South Carolina with powerful winds and catastrophic freshwater flooding. Its top sustained winds have dropped to 70 mph and it’s at a near standstill, moving west at just three mph.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from their center.

Florence is producing tropical storm-force wind gusts in Florence, South Carolina, about 60 miles from the coast, the National Hurricane Center said.

Late Saturday, Captain George Njue, a Kenyan community leader who also lives in Raleigh, said no Kenyans had been reported dead as a result of the hurricane.

He told the Sunday Nation that most Kenyans living in the hinterland agreed to open their doors for their compatriots from the coastal towns who needed a place to ride the storm.

“Places like Raleigh and Charlotte are pretty far from either Myrtle Beach or Wilmington so they are likely to be spared the brunt force of the hurricane. That is why we encouraged Kenyans from those places to come and take cover over here,” he said.

“This place is relatively safe despite the heavy rains and occasional loss of power.”

POWER OUTAGE

Mr Isaac Kuria who also lives in Kari, said his neighbourhood had experienced an extensive black-out as expected.

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“We knew this was likely to happen so most people prepared adequately. Most people bought generators, torches and candles in case electricity was cut-off,” Mr Kuria said.

Cars were not spared by the Hurricane. PHOTO/FILE

He was not sure when power would be restored.

On Thursday, Kenyan born immigration attorney Jeff Matemu, of Raleigh, sent a message to Kenyans living in North and South Carolina and Virginia, asking them to heed authorities’ calls to evacuate.

“Please don’t think this is something you can ride out. The storm is proving to be deadly so don’t take chances,” said Mr Matemu, who is contesting a congressional seat for the 2nd District of North Carolina on a libertarian party ticket.

He posted the message on social media.

Speaking to Sunday Nation on Saturday, he also asked Kenyans to stay updated and follow advisories by emergency management authorities at the state and local levels.

“Anything can be replaced but not life,” he said.

-BY CHRIS WAMALWA, nation.co.ke

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Diaspora

No Quarantine for Passengers Flying to Kenya, Government says

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Transport CS James Macharia, on Wednesday, July 8, announced that passengers arriving in Kenya from other countries would not be forced to quarantine if they did not exhibit flu symptoms.

“All passengers shall be exempt from quarantine on arrival at their destinations if their body temperature is not above 37.5 degrees celsius and they do not have a persistent cough, difficulty in breathing and other flu-like symptoms.

“This is important because we do not expect a tourist to come from wherever they land here and then they are quarantined for 14 days,” the CS explained.

Speaking during a press briefing at Transcom House in Nairobi, CS Macharia revealed that the new protocols were aimed at encouraging tourism, one of the hardest-hit industries following the pandemic.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia speaking at KICC on March 17, 2016.
Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia speaking at KICC on March 17, 2016.
DAILY NATION

In addition, the CS explained that airline crew and passengers would be allowed to the airports and that all crew would be exempted from quarantine after a flight, if their body temperatures were below 37 degrees, and if there was no suspected Covid-19 case in the flight.

However, the crew is expected to be quarantined in case of a suspected case from the flight.

Passengers flying into the country will be allowed to be dropped and picked at the various airports past curfew hours, provided that they are able to present a boarding pass.

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With the resumption of air transport slated for July 15, 2020, as per President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive, CS Macharia revealed that only 5 airlines had so far confirmed that they would be operational.

The five were identified as Kenya Airways, Jambojet, Aim Air, Boskovic Air, and Scenic Safaris.

In case of a suspected case of COVID-19 on a flight, CS Macharia revealed that the passengers within two rows of the passenger with the symptoms would be tested. If their results turned out to be negative, they would be then allowed to leave the airport, however, the reverse would result in the passengers being quarantined in accordance with Ministry of Health guidelines.”

Watch CS Macharia’s briefing below:

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Kenyan students in the US to lose visas if their classes move online

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Kenyan students in the United States may soon be forced to return home if their colleges or universities opt for online learning only, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In a statement on Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas who attend universities that operate entirely online amid the Covid-19 pandemic may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.

FULL ONLINE COURSES

“Students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” said ICE.

The agency added that F-1 students who attend schools that provide a mixture of online and in-person classes will be permitted to take some online courses.

According to ICE, the schools must certify to the Student Exchange Visitor Program “that the program is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree.”

F-1 students whose universities will maintain full in-person classes will remain bound by federal laws that allow a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

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“Students who remain in the United States while taking only online courses could face immigration consequences, including the initiation of removal proceedings,” ICE said.

Last year, the number of Kenyans enrolled in US higher-education institutions rose by nearly four per cent, reaching a total of 3,451 students, according to a 2019 study published by a State Department Bureau and Institute of International Education, a New York-based NGO.

Africans overall account for 40,000 of the 1,095,000 international students in the US.

The updated guidance comes as schools in the US consider reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic, while imposing restrictions on students’ return that will force some students to stay off-campus and learn remotely for entire semesters at a time.

The ICE announcement comes at a time when the US leads the world in coronavirus caseload. More than 2.9 million Americans have contracted Covid-19 with 130,000 deaths reported.

By Nairobi News

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Family of Kenyan man in US accused of rape by Uber customer seeks help

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A 24-year-old Kenyan in the United States who has been accused of rape is looking for financial support to secure freedom.

The family of Kennedy Wambua Masila who resides in Corona, California is raising funds for their kin who has been held in jail since June 10, 2020, on allegations of rape.

According to the family, Mr Musila, who had just recently migrated to the US from Kenya, is a college student and was working as an Uber driver to make ends meet.

The family in a GoFundMe page, says that on the fateful night, he received a request from the Uber app to pick up a passenger. He then picked her up and dropped her off at her destination.

The woman later called the police and said that he had raped her. He was subsequently arrested and has been held in jail in lieu of Sh2 million ($20,000) bail.

“Ken drove to the pickup location where he picked up a lady who seemed to be intoxicated. Just like he always did, he drove his passenger to her destination and dropped her off. Ken has assured us that during this trip nothing happened and that it was just one of the many trips he had completed that day. He was later arrested on the aforementioned accusation,” says Dr Fastac Mutua, who is organising the fundraiser to raise the bail amount and an additional Sh1.2 million ($12,500) in legal fees.

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According to Dr Mutua, Musila was barely getting settled in the United States and was working two jobs to support his family and also going to school to secure a promising future for himself.

“He has been falsely accused and his promising future put in jeopardy,” says Kennedy’s family,” he adds.

Please donate here: GoFundMe.com

-Nairobi news

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