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.
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Putin tries to reassure over rouble worries, but also slams the West
- 2US homeowner ‘defending his castle’ found guilty of killing German teenager
- 3Ukraine: Conflict could soon be over says optimist President Poroshenko
- 4Venezuela: alone or united with the US and Cuba?
- 5Putin answers press questions on Ukraine, NATO and the Russian economy
- 1“The Rosetta team” is euronews’ person/people of the year
- 2NASA rover detects methane on Mars
- 3Obama set to sign bill on more Russian sanctions by end of the week
- 4Children targeted in Pakistan’s deadliest militant attack in years; 132 students are killed
- 5US and Cuba announce plan to restore relations after decades of hostility
- 1“The Rosetta team” is euronews’ person/people of the year
- 2Thailand’s Princess Srirasmi renounces royal status and will divorce
- 3Chechen ‘death’ unit fighting with rebels in eastern Ukraine
- 4Italian singer-song writer ‘Pino’ dies on stage
- 5Left-wing extremists run riot in upscale Zurich, Switzerland
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2What will you ask US Senator John McCain? | euronews, world news
- 3Watch: Passengers ‘push-start’ frozen plane in Siberia | euronews, world news
- 4Le Pen: I admire ‘cool head’ Putin’s resistance to West’s new Cold War | euronews, interview
- 5Back to School for Romania’s new First Lady | euronews, world news
- 6European e-revolution people rise up | euronews, world news
- 7Which countries in Europe cause the most air pollution damage? | euronews, world news
- 8McCain blasts Europe’s approach to Ukraine conflict ‘a joke’ | euronews, the global conversation
- 9Moldova pro-EU parties take narrow lead in elections | euronews, world news
- 10NATO joins search for ‘Russian submarine’ off Scottish coast | euronews, world news
- 11European Union News | euronews: latest breaking news and headlines about European Union
- 12Ukraine reports accident at Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant | euronews, world news
- 13Grenoble: Europe’s first ad-free city | euronews, world news
- 14Crude awakening: Romania’s Black Sea oil and gas finds fuel Europe’s energy hopes | euronews, reporter
- 15The American Century comes to an end as China becomes the world’s largest economy | euronews, economy
- 16Irony as organised crime prosecutor arrested for corruption in Romania | euronews, world news
- 17Israeli warplanes hit targets in Syria | euronews, world news
- 18Germans demand honour for Turkish woman beaten to death | euronews, world news
- 19Obama’s ‘risky’ immigration gamble | euronews, world news
- 20Chechen ‘death’ unit fighting with rebels in eastern Ukraine | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 01:57 CET Insight – China tightens grip on Macau as dissent rises in…
- 01:06 CET Special Report – Depleted oil field is window into China’s…
- 00:44 CET Dutch PM agrees to change health bill to avoid government collapse
- 00:33 CET Tribal chief of Mali’s Tuaregs dies amid stalled peace talks
- 00:21 CET Russia is a strategic problem for the EU – Tusk
- 23:32 CET Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap 172 women, children in Nigeria
- 23:29 CET At U.N., Iran urged to show more flexibility in nuclear talks
- 23:02 CET Three top Islamic State leaders killed in air strikes – …