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VIDEO: Wails, muffled screams and prayers as families of the victims visit crash scene

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Wails, muffled screams and prayers rent the air in Tulu Fera, the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines plane crash which killed all 157 people on board, 32 of them Kenyans, as families of the victims came face to face with the magnitude of the tragedy yesterday.

In Tulu Fera in Ejere District on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the tears of victims’ kin drenched the fresh soil that was being scooped by those trying to retrieve the bodies, some of which were buried six metres deep as the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane nose-dived.

So far, the retrieval of bodies has yielded little: strands of hair, a hand, a toe…all piling up the pain of not just the loss, but also of never having anything for the final ritual, for burial, for closure.

Last respects

In the mass grave of some sorts are buried, not just lives, but careers and dreams, families robbed of a father, a mother, a sibling, a child, a spouse, a neighbour, a friend…

Some family members began to pay their last respects to their kin by lighting candles and laying flowers on a table covered in white roses.

Screen grab of some family members paying their last respects to their kin by lighting candles and laying flowers on a table covered in white roses.

It was on this table that their pain was laid bare —it might be the only thing close to a coffin that would symbolise the death of their kin.

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

It is the reality that nearly every family which suffered a loss in the tragedy is confronting. A British forensic expert told People Daily that the largest body part recovered was a piece of hand.

Grieving families, he said, might have to wait for weeks before all human remains are collected from the scene for DNA analysis.

“Let us be honest. You are here and you have seen the impact of the crash. What can you fetch from that?” posed the source.

Amos Mbicha, who lost his sister Stella with her son in the crash, walked to the table and was overwhelmed with emotion as he laid flowers in honour of his sister.

He had earlier told People Daily that his sister, who was married to a Polish, was coming home to see them during a brief vacation when she met her death.

Counselling session

“It is like the entire family is gone,” he said.

People Daily has also learned that a session has been organised between families and counsellors, the objective being to divulge the painful news that they may not have anything to bury.

The session will include forensic experts who will try to convince the families that the nature of crash left nothing to salvage for burial, the source said.

READ ALSO:   NARROW ESCAPE: Greek man arrived two minutes late for the flight, escaped death in Ethiopia crash

A Chinese family, as if having come to terms with this reality, picked sand and debris from the crash site, put it in a box and left. An Asian journalist told us that is what would be used in the burial rituals.

Black boxes

Shredded remains of the plane were covered before family members arrived to shield them from the horror of the tragedy.

At the same time, Ethiopian authorities have said they do not have the equipment to analyse the black boxes from the accident and are considering sending them abroad.

“It could be sent abroad because there is no equipment to read it here,” said spokesman Biniyam Demssie.

The airline’s chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam earlier told CNN the black boxes would have to be examined outside the country, in a destination to be chosen by investigators — possibly the United States or “a closer country in Europe in the interest of proximity and in the interest of speed.”

Numerous countries have banned Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 jet from their airspace after the crash.

The Nairobi-bound plane was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew. Some experts have detected similarities between the two accidents.

READ ALSO:   How technology may have brought down Ethiopian Airways jet

Tewolde said Ethiopian Airlines pilots had been retrained on the MAX 8 following the Lion Air crash.

“There is very significant similarities on the two accidents. There are a lot of questions to be answered on the airplane,” he told CNN.

Source: mediamax.co.ke

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Africa

Kenyans are the most generous people

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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?”

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

source:standard.co.ke

 

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Africa

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

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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:   Anchor Dan Mwangi apologizes for 'rude gestures' on Ethiopia crash

SOURCE: Nairobi News

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Africa

Zambia High Commissioner dies while receiving treatment in Nairobi

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