Nairobi Airport Fire Forces Kenya To Cancel Flights

Dan Evon

Kenya has shut down its main international airport in Nairobi after a massive fire broke out last night.

According to the Independent, the fire completely gutted the international arrivals hall which forced the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to cancel all of its flights. Many incoming flights were redirected to places like Tanzania and Uganda.

Mutea Iringo, principal secretary at the Ministry of Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, said: "Arrivals and immigration are totally damaged. The airport has been closed down."

The Nairobi airport fire forced crew members and passengers to evacuate JKIA. At least two people were injured in the fire and had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

SMH reports that the Nairobi Airport fire came 15 years after a US embassy in Nairobi was bombed. But Kenya's anti-terror police chief Boniface Mwaniki said that he didn't believe that terrorists were involved in the fire.

Stephen Gichuki, the director of the Kenyan Airports Authority, said the airport was working to restore operations.

Gichuki said: "We reassure international and local travellers that arrangements are being put in place to restore normal operations. The airlines are working to assist stranded passengers and advise them on the measures being put in place to resume services at JKIA."

The Jomo Kenyatta International airport is the largest in Kenya and is responsible for much of the country's imports and exports. Kenya provides nearly one third of all fresh flowers sold in Europe. The Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya said that the airport handles more than $3.6 million worth of farm goods a day.

Interior Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku said: "Security has been heightened... We recognize the central role the airport plays to this economy."

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