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Addis air crash: Not a single body for burial

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Hope of finding closure for families of those who died in the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash appeared uncertain following reports that it will be difficult to match remains to DNA samples.

According to the authorities, it could take months for analysts to match the body parts recovered from the crash scene to DNA samples family members will provide.

Yesterday, the Ethiopian authorities kept a tight lid on information on the recovery process.

Senior Kenyan officials, including Transport PS Esther Koimett left Ethiopia last night, in the clearest indication yet that there is no-end in sight into investigations into the crash whose reverberations have left permanent scars on hundreds of families.

With the information blackout, family members have been left to their own devices in Addis Ababa – the Ethiopian capital where information flow remains slow and scarce, exacerbating the pain of already distressed relatives.

Relatives of one of the victims, Mama Sahra Hassan, for instance, camped at the Kenyan Embassy help desk.

Her son, Khalid Abdikadir Mohamed shared his frustration over the slow release of information on his mother and brother.“We are here hoping that we would have a clear indication of where matters stand but we cannot even get a confirmation if we will be taken to the accident scene,” said Mohamed.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan man mourns loss of five family members in Ethiopian plane crash

About 20 of his relatives had travelled from South Africa, with the hope of seeing and perhaps carrying home the remains of their loved ones for burial.

Yesterday, they, like many other families, camped at the Ethiopian Airlines-owned Skylight Hotel near Bole International Airport.

Mohamed’s younger brother and father broke down in the middle of a press interview, an indication of pain and frustration.

The long wait to bury their kin clashes with their religious belief that requires prompt burial of the dead.Islam requires one to be interred within 24 hours.

Judaism – the Jewish religion, gives 72-hour window which expires on Thursday morning.Opher Dach, a senior diplomat working in the Israeli Embassy in Addis, was frustrated.While he did not lose any immediate family member in the crash, the fact that Ethiopian authorities had not released to his team remains of two Israelis on the ill-fated flight, frustrated him a lot.

Mr Dach shared the pain of failing to live up to the Judaism teachings on treating the dead, unable to comprehend that there would be no remains to take back home after all.“We are here to help find our people, among the others, so that we can bury them according to our religion,” Dach said.

READ ALSO:   Boeing 737 is forced to make an emergency landing at New Jersey's Newark airport after smoke fills cargo hold

He protested that air crash investigators from his country had not been granted access to the hangar where the debris of the crashed debris are kept.

An Israeli search and rescue organisation that includes priests, known as Rabbi, had unsuccessfully tried to find any body parts belonging to Jews, despite their despatch hours after the Sunday morning crash.

A requiem mass is scheduled for Thursday morning in Addis Ababa, a largely Christian community to celebrate lives of the victims.

A visit by the affected families was also scheduled for yesterday, but it did not happen with hopes that it might have been pushed forward to accommodate the families that had not arrived.

Free flights and accommodation are available to family members of those who perished in the crash.

But as the investigations into the crash entered a crucial stage with the arrival of engineers from plane manufacturer, Boeing and US National Transport Safety Board, it was clear that answers may not be forthcoming in at least a month – according to people previously involved in such probes.

And as it would appear, it may have been a lot worse for Kenya, if the Sunday air crash happened any other day of the week.

While this may do nothing to console the tens of families who lost their loved ones – all on connecting flights to Nairobi, typical journeys originating from the Ethiopian capital have many more Kenyans on board.

READ ALSO:   Makueni family buries soil from Ethiopia plane crash site

Addis Ababa is a second home for the huge Kenyan population including diplomatic corps who regularly shuttle to Nairobi and back – for work and family.

As the harsh reality of deaths start sinking in, Ijera village, the site of the crash, will have a huge new meaning.

It is likely to be the final resting place for the lost souls. Officially, a decision is yet to be taken on how to handle the remains of the victims.

Images from the accident scene show metallic parts of the plane and personal effects were shredded to bits.Accounts of witnesses say it all – a white bolt to the ground, a bang then dust. One engine broke apart on impact and caught fire.

Source:standard.co.ke

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Africa

Kenyan business community lauds President Kenyatta for lifting the lockdown

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

The government has lifted the lockdown imposed earlier on major cities following the eruption of the Covid 19 pandemic. The announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta on 6th July 2020 came just three days after Optiven Group CEO George Wachiuri called on the government to lift the lockdown. Wachiuri who was speaking in Kiambu County said this was imperative if the economy was to grow.

He added that, “while we support every effort to keep our people in good health, we have seen a large number sinking in to depression for lack of jobs and basic needs. The number of families seeking intervention for daily upkeep through the Optiven Foundation has grown tremendously in the last three months.

Wachiuri who is the chairman of the Optiven Foundation was referring to beneficiaries of the Spreading Hope campaign that was launched at the onset of the eruption of Covid 19. To date the Optiven Foundation has supported over 200 families under the campaign with beneficiaries domiciled in Kajiado, Machakos, Nairobi and Nyeri among others.

The eruption of Covid 19 pandemic has contributed to a rundown of the economy, affecting majority of sectors including health, manufacturing, education and many others.

READ ALSO:   Makueni family buries soil from Ethiopia plane crash site

With the pandemic came rising cases of infection and other unforeseen challenges that saw the government seeking partnership with stakeholders to mitigate the situation. Optiven Limited was among the first respondents with the company donating a quarter of a million to the national kitty. Wachiuri says, “as an investor in business in Kenya, Optiven felt this was our call to make a difference.

We believe in what the taskforce is doing to better the situation”. Through the award winning Foundation, the company has in 2020 continued to offer psycho-social support while adhering to the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization recommendations on engagement.

5 Key Facts On the Lifting of the Lockdown

  1. Cessation of movement in Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera lapses on 7th July 2020
  2. Curfew extended for 30 days
  3. Government to revert to lockdown if situation deteriorates or Covid 19 cases surge
  4. Vehicles traveling to and from areas that were previously restricted to be certified by the Ministry of Health
  5. On air travel, local travel to resume on 15th June 2020 while international travel to resume on 1st August 2020

Quote: “I urge all Kenyans to take personal responsibility and avoid unnecessary contact”.
Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
6/7/2020

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Man who lost five family members in Ethiopian crash reveals wife’s last words to him

Thoughts by

George Wachiuri: A Leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group

Contact Optiven Group: 0790 300 300
Email: admin@optiven.co.ke
Website: https://www.optiven.co.ke

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Africa

Feds: Nigerian scammer arrested in $50M scheme that targeted Chicago companies

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A man from Nigeria has been arrested after being accused of running a $50 million scheme that targeted Chicago companies.

Olalekan Jacob Ponle allegedly got an unnamed Chicago-based company to wire transfer more than $15 million. Another local company lost $2.3 million, but investigators believe the scheme is worth more than $50 million.

Sources pointed WGN Investigates to his Instagram feed which looks like a lifestyle of the rich and famous.

Here’s how prosecutors said the alleged scheme worked.

Either he or his co-conspirators were able to gain access to company’s email accounts through a phishing attack.

In one of the Chicago cases, they allegedly sent an email that appeared to be from the company’s Chief Accounting Officer to another employee ordering the a transfer.

The criminal complaint says “The fraudulent email was almost identical to a prior, legitimate email” right down to the name on the bank account. But the account “number” was different.

Federal agents said Ponle’s scheme spanned at least 9 months last year.

During that time, one of his Instagram posts read: “Money don’t make a man, a man makes money.”

Ponle is a Nigerian national and was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates. UAE expelled him and federal agents brought Ponle to Chicago Thursday night for an initial court appearance Friday morning.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Ethiopia can't read black boxes, 'might' send them abroad: airline

A detention hearing is schedule for late next week.

By WGN

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Africa

Kenya ‘raring to go’ on free trade deal with US, Uhuru says

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Kenya’s negotiations with the US on an unprecedented two-way trade deal are on schedule to begin on July 7 despite difficulties posed by the coro-navirus pandemic, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Friday.

“Our team is raring to go,” he assured an online forum sponsored by the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa.Kenya is aiming to create “sustainable jobs for our people” through what would be the first bilateral free-trade agreement between a sub-Saharan country and the nation with the world’s biggest economy, the President added.

The US also has much to gain from concluding such an arrangement, Mr Kenyatta suggested.Kenya is part of a continent that “requires everything from toothbrushes to machine tooling,” he said.

Mr Kenyatta also sought to allay concerns that a bilateral deal with the US could undermine the African Con-tinental Free Trade Area that is due to be implemented at the start of 2021.The Africa-wide initiative is “very important to us,” the President said, noting that Kenya has worked hard to ensure its success.

He suggested that a Kenya-US bilateral pact can complement the continental trade agreement and could serve as a model to be replicated by other individual countries.

“If we are successful in these negotiations, Kenya can act as a lead or guide,” the President said. “We will be the guinea pig so that many other African countries can follow suit.”

READ ALSO:   There are no bones, not even a skull — Father of Ethiopian Airlines pilot speaks

But Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo, who also spoke at Friday’s forum, said the US has paid more attention to the possibility of a bilateral deal with Kenya than to the multilateral Africa trade agreement that will soon come into force.

While hailing the significance of a US-Kenya trade deal, Mr Akufo-Addo lamented that “the emphasis of America on exploring opportunities on the continent has not been quite as intense as some of us would have wished.”

Florizelle Liser, chief executive of the Corporate Council on Africa, said in an interview following the forum that the US has in fact worked to facilitate the Africa-wide trade agreement.A bilateral deal with Kenya is not an impediment to Africa’s efforts to forge a multilateral free-trade grouping, she added. The US side “understands that Kenya is part of the EAC,” Ms Liser said.

“They’re already looking at ways they can pull in other East African countries.”It could take as long as two years to conclude a Kenya-US trade deal, she added.

President Kenyatta noted in his remarks to the forum that Kenya was especially keen to start bilateral negoti-ations with the US because the existing multilateral preferential trade package known as Agoa is due to expire in 2025.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Man who lost five family members in Ethiopian crash reveals wife’s last words to him

But President Akufo-Addo is not prepared to acquiesce to that projected termination date for Agoa. African countries that have benefited from Agoa should “look at the possibility of extending it,” he said.

Ms Liser, whose 27-year-old association includes most US companies operating in Africa, pointed out that it is up to the US Congress to decide whether Agoa’s scheduled expiration in five years will actually come to pass.The still-spreading pandemic is in-tensifying Africa’s need for increased trade and investment, the Kenyan and Ghanaian heads of state agreed.

Kenya managed to save many lives through swift implementation of virus-containment measures, Mr Kenyatta noted.

But, he acknowledged, those moves led to a sharp economic contraction and widespread loss of livelihoods.President Akufo-Addo pointed out that Ghana has recorded one of the lowest virus-related death rates in the world.His country has counted 15,473 cases of coronavirus, resulting in 95 deaths.Kenya has reported only about one-third as many cases but has seen 135 lives lost to the pandemic.

At the same time, Kenya Airways (KQ), grounded for the past three months by the coronavirus pandemic, will resume domestic flights in “the next couple of days,” President Kenyatta said.

The return to in-country service will coincide with the lifting of Kenya’s lockdown on travel between counties, Mr Kenyatta noted.The government will soon set a date for KQ to resume flying internationally, the President added.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan man mourns loss of five family members in Ethiopian plane crash

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we are back in the skies,” Mr Kenyatta said.“We’re eager to open up, but we have to make sure we all stay safe.”

The President’s announcement came on the same day that KQ chief executive Allan Kilavuka revealed that the airline has lost an estimated $100 million so far this year due to the pandemic and related lockdowns.Losses could approach $500 million by the end of 2020, Mr Kilavuka added.KQ had been struggling financially long before the coronavirus emerged.

It lost about $122 million in 2019, compared to $71 million the previous year.

By Sunday Nation.

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