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Tears, anxiety and anger as kin wait hours for plane crash updates



Tears, anxiety and anger marked the mood at Four Points by Sheraton Hotel at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) where the families of those who lost their lives in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday morning converged.

Poor flow of information from the government, airport management and the Ethiopian Airlines raised the tension, with some of the at least 100 family members protesting at having been kept for nearly six hours without any briefing.

“The families have been forced to rely on information from social media, which is conflicting. Some indicate that four people survived while others paints a disastrous picture,” said Mr Robert Mutanda, whose brother-in-law was flying from Canada to Kenya via Addis.

At 8pm on Sunday evening, after hours of waiting, the authorities dispersed, without a word. By this time, nearly all families and friends of the victims have left the airport.

Even Kenya Aviation Authority (KAA) workers who had assembled at the command centre at Four Points by Sheraton hotel to assist with the identification process for family and friends also left.

Kenya Red Cross officials who were to offer counselling services to kin and friends had little to do after families dispersed.

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A representative of the Ministry of Transport said that a press briefing will be conducted at 9am on Monday morning.

A distraught Mr Francis Thiong’i was kept in suspense regarding the fate of his daughter, Ms Florence Wangari, 30, a Catholic nun who had called in the morning to inform them that she was travelling on the ill-fated plane.

“Is my daughter dead or alive? We have not received any information from either the government or the airport. It is torturous being left in such suspense by the authorities,” the septuagenarian who had travelled from Nakuru to meet his daughter her, said.

Mr Isaac Lugi was at the airport by 9am, hoping for a reunion with his brother, who was en route from Canada and had contacted their sister minutes before boarding the ill-fated plane.

As anxiety mounted over the accident, Transport CS James Macharia said only Ethiopian Airlines and the Ethiopian government could provide information about the crash.

At a later briefing, he said he could not divulge much since the information was sensitive.

The situation was tense, with family members demanding to be given the list of the people who were on board.  They had all been hoping against hope that their relatives had survived, but at 3pm, an Ethiopian Airlines public relations officer identified only as Rosana, informed them that all aboard the plane had perished.

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“We send our deepest condolences to all of you,” she added.

“You have kept us here waiting as if we are inanimate objects without emotions. Just tell me those on board… tell me if my sister is dead and I’ll go and mourn at home. It’s not fun sitting here,” one of the people waiting said angrily, amid sobs.

Another accused the airline of trying to make the brand look good at the expense of pained relatives.

Reports had it that the families were first told that the plane had arrived, before being told minutes later they it was delayed, only for it to be removed from the arrivals schedule.

For the better part of the afternoon, emotions ran high, with screams and wails emerging from the lounge at the briefing room, and parking lot as the reality sunk for those whose worst fears had been confirmed by the heart-wrenching announcement.

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Kenyans are the most generous people



Despite the erupting cases of corruption, news of murders and updates of hopelessness that litter social media pages, Kenyans remain the happiest people in East Africa.

According to the 2019 survey released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on Wednesday, Kenya outperformed East African nations when parameters of happiness were measured using global standards.T

he report that was released to mark the World Happiness Day bases its ranking on six key variables: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.

This year’s focus was on how community affects happiness, how it has been changing over the years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

Social systems

The chief researcher John Helliwell had an explanation for what makes countries like Kenya happy despite the many sad events that dominate their news.

“What stands out about the happiest and most well connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things,” said Helliwell.

Interesting to note from the survey is that social systems in Kenya seem to be crumbling. Compared to the 2018 report, more Kenyans responded in negative when asked: “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them?”

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PHOTOS: Uhuru all smiles in Namibia as drought crisis persists in Kenya



President Uhuru Kenyatta led a high-powered delegation to attend Namibia’s independence day celebrations, despite the raging drought crisis in the country.

Pictures shared on the State House social media accounts show the head of state and those on his entourage all smiles during the celebrations that were held at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to Namibia’s independence day celebrations. PHOTO | COURTESY

“President @UKenyatta arrives at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to join the people of Namibia for celebrations to mark 29 years of their country’s independence,” read the caption.

Some of those in his delegation included his daughter Ngina, personal assistant Jomo Gecaga, ministers Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), James Macharia (Transport) and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), among others.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is welcomed at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to Namibia’s independence day celebrations. PHOTO | COURTESY

At least 10 people have been reported dead as a result of the drought that has hit a number of counties.

The worst-hit are Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot.

Senior government officials, including Deputy President William Ruto, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa have, however, claimed that no Kenyan has died from starvation. They say the situation is under control.

READ ALSO:   Addis air crash: Not a single body for burial

SOURCE: Nairobi News

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Zambia High Commissioner dies while receiving treatment in Nairobi



Zambia High Commissioner to Kenya, Her Excellency Brenda Muntemba-Sichilembe has died.

The 49-year old High Commissioner has been receiving treatment since she was involved in a fatal road accident at Machakos on February 26.

Foreign PS Macharia Kamau has confirmed the death.

Ms Muntemba-Sichilembe was initially admitted at the Machakos Level 5 Hospital, and then flown to Nairobi and operated on to stem internal bleeding where she was admitted in Intensive care unit (ICU).

Prior to her appointment to this role, she served as Chief Program Officer at UNESCO in Zambia.

More to follow…

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