Thousands of people surged for food aid in a brief stampede in Kenya’s capital, desperate for help as coronavirus restrictions keep them from making a living. Police fired tear gas and injured several people, witnesses said.
Residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slum, spotting a food distribution, tried to force their way through a gate outside a district office for their chance at supplies to keep their families fed for another day.
A vast population of informal workers, with little or no savings, worries about the next meal as no one knows when the measures will end. Already, Rwanda and South Africa have extended their lockdowns by two weeks.
In the Nairobi chaos, men with sticks beat people back as they fought over packages of food, some with face masks dangling off their chins.
Some people fell and were trampled. Dust rose. Women shrieked. Injured people were carried to safety and placed on the ground to recover, gasping for breath.
“The people who have been injured here are very many, even we cannot count,” one resident, Evelyn Kemunto, said.
“Both women and children have been injured. There was a woman with twins, she has been injured, and even now she is looking for her twins…
“It is food we were coming for since we are dying of hunger.”
The crowd had heard that popular opposition leader Raila Odinga had donated the food, said witness Richard Agutu Kongo, a 43-year-old who operates a motorcycle taxi.
But in fact the distribution was from another well-wisher who had given selected families cards to turn in and receive aid, he said.
“They didn’t care about government restrictions that we were to stay one metre apart,” he added.
Mr Kongo’s family, including six children, was given a card. They received two packets of maize meal, cooking oil and cereals.
People in the crowd “could see those with cards getting food and this caused the stampede as they tried to force their way in”, Mr Kongo said.
He described his business as a standstill as Kenyans are discouraged from going out.
“Before, I used to make (the equivalent of) US$10 and now with the coronavirus restrictions I can barely make $5,” he said.
“It’s becoming hard to ensure my family gets three meals a day. Yesterday they missed breakfast.”
With Friday’s donation, his family now has enough for three meals, he said: “We are thankful for the donation, but it will only last two days”.
Coronavirus: what you need to know
How is coronavirus transmitted?
The human coronavirus is only spread from someone infected with COVID-19 to another. This occurs through close contact with an infected person through contaminated droplets spread by coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated hands or surfaces.
How can I protect myself and my family?
World Health Organisation and NSW Health both recommend basic hygiene practices as the best way to protect yourself from coronavirus.
Good hygiene includes:
Clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or your elbow;
Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms;
Apply safe food practices; and
Stay home if you are sick.
For breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the9News appand set notifications to on at theApp StoreorGoogle Play.You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Playand theGovernment’s WhatsApp channel.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and are used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.