Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


No quick fix for JKIA

07 August 2013, 18:32

Nairobi - The international terminals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been reduced to a charred shell with wreckage hanging down from a caved in roof and water dripping down blackened walls.

In international arrivals an information kiosk that once welcomed the thousands of tourists who arrive in Kenya daily is now a barely recognisable blackened shell.

Firemen, struggling to put out the blaze that raged for four hours and sent plumes of acrid smoke high into the sky, splash through pools of black sludge -- water from their hose pipes mixed with a thick layer of soot.

Chunks of silver-coloured ventilation pipes litter the floor.

Officials scurry around updating the press, adamant they will resume services swiftly. Cargo flights and domestic services had both resumed by late afternoon.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who called the fire a "tragic event", vowed to resume services as soon as possible, saying the domestic terminal would handle international flights.

But when he visited the still smouldering arrivals hall, even as firefighters still poured water on the hissing embers, for several minutes he simply stared in horror, trying to take in the scale of fire and the damage it had done.

Usually some 16,000 passengers transit through the airport daily, including both domestic and international flights, with Nairobi the most important transit hub for east Africa.

"The whole airport is in a mess," said Sylvia Amondi, who was at the airport to pick up a relative who had been due to arrive.

"The restaurants and other shops at the arrivals have all been razed to the ground."

Behind the scenes portly civil servants braved massive puddles to sift through soggy papers and files in what was left of their offices.

In the baggage claim area only a giant advert for multi-choice TV remained untouched.

The airport's small domestic terminal is usually itself crowded, and while Nairobi has another domestic airport, even in the best case scenario, international flights in Nairobi will likely see huge delays for weeks to come, if indeed not longer.

Officials from the presidency said their next update on the situation would be around midday on Thursday.

Firemen, policemen and soldiers all joined together to stem the blaze, dragging the heavy water pipes up ladders to pour onto the fire.

At one point, with water from the first fire trucks used up and emergency water tankers held up in rush hour traffic, some took up buckets to fling water onto the raging blaze.

Clouds of black smoke could be seen for kilometres (miles) around.

Luggage trollies lined together appeared fused into a block by the intensity of the blaze, which is reported to have begun in the immigration area of the arrivals hall shortly before dawn, before spreading swiftly to engulf the building.

Outside, shocked passengers waited for information, unsure when they will be able to travel, with immigration officers setting up temporary bases to process those passengers who arrived, while foreign embassies sent staff to help.

Others, diverted to Kenya's port city of Mombasa, or Tanzania's northern town of Arusha, faced bus journeys of several hours to reach Nairobi.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Jayne Zack
I am in ODM to stay, Busia Depu...

Busia Deputy Governor Kizito Wangalwa told Deputy President William on the face that he was in the Orange Democratic Movement to stay. Read more...

Boda Boda operators in Bahati rai...

Motorbike Boda Boda operators from Bahati Sub county on Tuesday took to the streets of Nakuru’s CBD lamenting over what they term is harassment by patrol police officers in the area. Read more...

Submitted by
Gabriel Ngallah
Human Rights activist lives in fe...

The Human rights fraternity in Mombasa is currently living in fear after the home of one of the vocal human rights champion was invaded on Monday night. Read more...

Submitted by
kel wesh
Poisonous milk powder siezed by K...

The Kenya Revenue Authority has seized two containers with illegal milk powder which had been declared as gypsum board at Mombasa port. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Be ready for protests, Raila warn...

Expect protests if meddling with Auditor General continues, Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Kenya says will return to interna...

Kenya will return to international markets to borrow when it feels the time is right, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Tuesday. Read more...