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Rescued Garissa University students set to arrive in Nairobi

04 April 2015, 10:53 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – More than 500 students who were rescued from the Garissa University College attack are set to arrive in Nairobi, where they will reunite with their families before heading to their home counties.

The students who will be ferried by the National Youth Service (NYS) buses will be taken to Nyayo Stadium where their families, friends, government officials, rescue teams and mental counselors will be waiting for them.

Health Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia said they chose Nyayo Stadium as the students’ destination point because of its wider space and that families unable to identify their children will either go and search them at Kenyatta National Hospital or identify them among other bodies at Chiromo Mortuary. 

The Secretary General Kenya Red Cross, Abbas Gulllet, said the victims’ bodies were flown to Nairobi and taken to Chiromo Mortuary due to inadequate morgue facilities and services in Garissa County.

“The government is fully in charge of all the process of transporting the injured, rescued students and bodies to Nairobi. So far more than 112 bodies have been brought in mortuary, more will be brought in any time and we expect a lot of activities today,” said Gullet.

He revealed that identified bodies of students from Garissa County and other parts of North Eastern were buried as from the day of the attack as required by the Islamic laws, thus, reducing the burden of their families travelling to Nairobi to identify them.

“About 100 students with minor injuries were taken to Garissa County Hospital and are expected in Nairobi with other rescued students where they will be reunited with their families,” said Gullet.

Although the government announced that the Garissa terror attack death toll was 148 people, Gullet said the number may either be below or above depending on the bodies received at the morgue.

He however said varied temperature between Nairobi (conducive) and Garissa (extremely hot) causing bodies to change beyond recognition was somehow making it difficult for families to identify bodies of their children.

“We hope this may not be a big challenge for families to identify bodies of their children. Bodies upon arrival at the mortuary, they are prepared in two hours and their photos taken for families to easily identify,” said Gullet.

The bodies from Garissa were flown to Wilson Airport then ferried to Chiromo Mortuary in trips by the Kenya Police trucks, the Kenya Red Cross, the University of Nairobi and the Kenyatta University hearses.

Saddened and eagerly waiting families at the mortuary were yesterday (Friday) asked to come Saturday to identify bodies of their children because many bodies were arriving and much preparation time was need before families could be allowed in to view.    

The bereaved families waiting at the mortuary were joined by the University of Nairobi vice chancellor, Peter Mbithi and his Kenyatta University counterpart, Olive Mugenda.

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