‘Massive’ fire at Kenya’s Nairobi international airport

A "massive" fire broke out at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport [JKIA] on Wednesday, an official said, shutting down one of the region's most important transport hubs and causing serious damage.

"There is a serious fire at JKIA, but we are doing everything possible to avert a crisis," said Mutea Iringo, a senior official at the interior and national co-ordination ministry.

"Apart from emergency landings, all flights into and out of JKIA have been cancelled … [the] airport has been shut down," added the official.

There were no initial reports of casualties, but Iringo said the fire was "massive", adding that the arrivals and immigration sections were "totally damaged".

Firefighters were tackling the blaze, while flights were being diverted to other airports, the interior ministry said in a statement.


Images on Kenyan media showed flames rising high in the sky and billowing clouds of black smoke out of the main arrivals and departures terminal, with dozens of police and fire trucks at the scene.

The airport serves as a hub for East Africa, with many long-distance international flights landing there to connect to countries across the region.

"People should not come to the airport while this work is ongoing. No casualties have been reported and the fire fighters are doing a good job. Safety is paramount," Cabinet Secretary for the Interior Joseph ole Lenku said, adding that security was heightened at the airport after the fire started.

The fire comes less than 48 hours after a fuel jet pump failure caused huge delays at the airport.

Kenya Airways, one of the leading airlines in the region which uses the airport as its main hub, said on its Twitter feed that it was diverting flights to Kenya's port city of Mombasa and that transit passengers were being taken to hotels.

Other airlines are expected to divert flights to Mombasa and to neighbouring countries including in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. – AFP, Reuters

Pictures by AP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Telling Africa’s story: The future is podcasts

Podcasting in Africa has experienced a slow uptake, but there are active pockets of users in some countries — and huge potential to grow the market of makers and listeners

Is WhatsApp shaping democracy in Africa?

A study shows that the social messaging platform is both emancipatory and destructive, particularly during election campaigns

Human health, animal health and environmental health are inextricably linked

To take care of ourselves, we must take care of the world around us

Covid-19 deepens Kenya’s educational divide

Children are expected to keep learning at home during the coronavirus lockdown, but a lack of resources makes this a tricky prospect for some of them

The journalist who was shot in cold blood

Ahmed Divela was one of Ghana’s most fearless investigative journalists. This edited excerpt about his killing is from Faces of Assassination

Meet refugee camp’s ‘Corona Guy’

One radio presenter is using the airwaves to bring vital facts about the virus to Dadaab’s 217 000 residents
Advertising

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday