Bring us home, Kenyans in Wuhan plead with Govt.

By Seth Onyango On Wed, 26 Feb, 2020 10:02 | 2 mins read
coronavirus
Various African ambassadors in China have written to the country’s foreign minister to voice complaints about “stigmatisation and discrimination”. PHOTO | AFP

Some of the Kenyan nationals who are stuck in Wuhan, China, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, have pleaded with the government to evacuate them.

They are worried about running out of food, water and contracting the deadly virus from other people in the populated city that has reduced to a ghost town by the disease.

Photos show how the typically bustling city of 11 million people appears to be a ghost town, and people are seeking support from their balconies and running back into their apartments as they wait for a word on when the spread will abate, or their quarantine will be lifted.

In a recent press statement, the Foreign Affairs ministry said the Kenyan embassy is in touch with the Kenyans who have been affected by the lockdown in the city.

“The embassy is aware that there are 85 Kenyans in Wuhan who are registered with the embassy and is closely monitoring the situation,” the ministry said in a press statement on Monday.

And responding to worries raised by many foreigners, the Chinese government has asked all missions to ask their citizens not to panic as they have established scientific genomes of the virus and they are convinced the virus is controllable and preventable as they have deployed world-class measures.

But the desperation is real among the 85 Kenyans stuck in the Chinese city.

Speaking to People Daily, 36-year-old Olivia Njiri, a PhD student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, revealed that she feels uncertain about her future.

Olivia says that she and the other Kenyans trapped in Wuhan are just waiting for a miracle.

Back in Kenya, Olivia says her family and friends are latching onto hope that the Chinese government and global efforts to contain the virus that has since killed 2,700 will bear results.

Although Olivia appreciates prayers for God’s intervention, what she needs most is the government to evacuate her and her compatriots who are trapped in the ‘death hole’.

In a heart-chilling appeal to the Foreign Affairs ministry and the government, she revealed to People Daily how the situation is getting bleak by the day.

“The supermarket we depended on at school is now closed… we don’t know where to get our supplies. We can’t go… our appeals for help are not heeded by the government,” she says.

The Chinese government, Olivia says, has advised them to shop online but that has proven problematic because she and many foreigners need national IDs to do that, which they don’t have.

This comes as her school continues to experience water paucity amid fears that the supply network may be contaminated.

Njiri is among nearly 100 Kenyan students trapped in Wuhan, which has been hit by the deadly coronavirus.

On Tuesday, a man whose six months’ pregnant wife is trapped in Wuhan lamented about the agony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offices in Nairobi.

Martin Situma told of how he has not known peace since the viral outbreak was declared in the city where his expectant wife is.

Situma is now worried about the physical and psychological health of his wife.

In Wuhan, the streets are empty synonymous with scenes from Hollywood apocalypse movies, after the Chinese government restricted people from leaving their homes.

This week a section of senators continued piling pressure on the State to evacuate the trapped Kenyans from China.

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