07/08/13 15:34 CET
A major fire that broke out at the main international airport in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi has been brought under control.
The government has admitted that fire crews struggled to find water, with tankers having to be used to fetch supplies. It has promised to establish the cause of the fire, which started in the arrivals and immigration area.
The intense heat repeatedly drove back the poorly equipped firefighters. They battled for hours to put out the fire which partially collapsed the roof of the terminal building.
Passengers were evacuated and inbound and outbound flights to the airport were halted. This is peak season for tourists in Kenya, and imports and exports of goods were affected, so the economic repercussions could be big.
One South African passenger spoke to euronews about being stranded: “Our flight was supposed to be at seven o’clock this morning. We were heading to Cameroon but we’ve no idea what’s going to happen now. We’re still waiting for the offices to open and to see who can we connect to so we can get more info on where to go next.”
The blaze at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – a regional hub for East Africa – raged for hours before the emergency services were on the scene, according to eyewitnesses. Two people were reported to have been treated for smoke inhalation.
Domestic and cargo flights were due to resume using the cargo terminal.
Michael Kamau, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, said: “We are going to allow all departing cargo planes to leave, all the ones that are here at the airport, but we will not allow any incoming flights to come. We are going to open the airport for domestic passengers. There are very many passengers who are in Mombasa, Eldoret and other airports. We will start operations, flights from here to Eldoret to Kisumu and to Mombasa and other airports.”
The national flag carrier, Kenya Airways said overseas flights from London and from Bangkok would land at the airport as scheduled early on Thursday and travellers would be processed through the domestic terminal.
That small facility will be expanded with tents to create extra space for the passengers.
The fire coincided with the 15th anniversary of a twin attacks by Islamist militants on the United States embassy in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of neighbouring Tanzania.
But security analysts said there was as yet no indication of any link to Islamist militants that Kenyan soldiers are battling in neighbouring Somalia as part of an African Union force.
“It doesn’t bear the hallmarks of an al Shabaab operation but one never knows. It might be something new,” said a regional security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.
One Kenyan passenger at the airport said he heard two small explosions from the international arrival area.
“I was waiting for my flight around 5 a.m. (04.00 CET) when I heard two explosions, as if from a gas cylinder or electricity fault,” the man said.
- 1Greek PM suggests party referendum to overcome split in Syriza
- 2Russia vetoes UN resolution to try suspects in MH17 crash in Ukraine
- 3What’s gone wrong with Rome?
- 4MH370: wreckage found on island ‘almost certainly’ from Boeing 777
- 5Missing MH370 flight : Plane wreckage washed up on Reunion Island is tested
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Russia unveils ‘straight’ flag, internet responds
- 3Seven reasons why Yanis Varoufakis is now a political legend
- 4Greek crisis: ‘Agreement reached’ after marathon talks
- 5International news | euronews, latest international news
- 6Nasa announces the discovery of an earth-like planet
- 7[LIVE UPDATES] Greek debt deadline looms
- 8Is Saudi Arabia outlawing rainbows for being gay?
- 9Pluto: New Horizons space probe provides closest-ever pictures
- 10French actor Gérard Depardieu ‘a threat to Ukraine national security’
- 11Latest News Bulletin
- 12International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 13BREAKING: Formal nuclear deal reached with Iran, says diplomat
- 14Greece votes ‘No’ in overwhelming rejection of bailout proposals
- 15Berlusconi linked with a shock return to government – in Russia!
- 16At least 10 dead in explosion in Turkish town close to border with Syria
- 17Greece clinches deal with eurogroup after marathon talks
- 18‘Imposed’ bailout deal must be implemented, says Greek PM
- 19Israel angry as Iran and West talk up nuclear deal
- 20Varoufakis resigns after Greek referendum
Latest world news
Beijing to host 2022 Winter Olympics
Venezuela opposition group favourite to win December vote
Palestinian toddler killed in West Bank arson attack
Families of MH370 victims renew talk of compensation after debris find
Zimbabwe minister calls for extradition of US dentist who killed Cecil the Lion
Wires > News
- 13:12 CET Nusra Front attacks Western-backed rebels in northern Syria
- 13:12 CET Palestinian toddler killed; Jewish arsonists suspected
- 13:03 CET Suspect in Charleston church massacre to be arraigned on hate…
- 12:40 CET Freeing of Chinese loggers riles Myanmar citizens
- 12:29 CET U.N. raps Philippines for failing to rehouse typhoon homeless
- 12:15 CET Under Western pressure, Kosovo to put war crimes court to new vote
- 11:43 CET Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan to discuss TurkStream this autumn…
- 11:39 CET China paper says ‘wicked man wiped out’ after graft probe