A major fire has badly damaged the main international airport terminal in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.
No casualties were reported and it is still not clear what started the blaze which caused the building’s roof to partly caved in.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is a regional hub for East Africa and its closure has disrupted long-distance flights to other countries.
All inbound and outbound flights were cancelled. A government spokesman said domestic flights and international cargo flights would restart later in the day using the airport’s cargo terminal.
Michael Kamau, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport said: “No aircraft can leave because we cannot provide the fire cover because all the fire engines are supporting the fighting of the fire.”
He added: “The fire started at a very central part of the airport and this made access difficult.”
All passengers were evacuated and people urged to stay away.
The fire is believed to have started at the airport’s arrivals and immigration area.
One Kenyan passenger at the airport said he heard two small explosions from the international arrival area, then sirens.
“I was waiting for my flight around 5 a.m. when I heard two explosions, as if from a gas cylinder or electricity fault,” the man said.
“Within minutes, the entire airport was secured by police and Kenya airport authority personnel, who ordered everybody out of the airport,” he added.
Stranded passengers expressed frustration at a lack of information from the authorities about their fate.
Svein Huseby, 38, an engineer from Norway had been due to fly home after visiting his Kenyan girlfriend.
“It’s been chaotic … No one knows if they will be going home in two hours, two days or two months. People are going crazy,” he said.