Covid-19: Mission in London to evacuate Kenyans stranded in UK
Kenya High Commission in London has revealed plans to evacuate Kenyans still stranded in the UK du to the confusion cased by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released on Sunday, Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu said they were in talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and are working on logistics for a possible evacuation flight to Nairobi from London.
“The Kenya High Commission London is in continuous communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters in Nairobi about the fate of some Kenyans who may be stranded in the UK due to flight cancellations occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Esipisu said.
Manoah added that Kenya Airways has agreed to send a flight to London to bring Kenyans home as long as the number of passengers is not less than 211.
“Those keen to fly back will be expected to meet the cost for their air ticket and be subjected to 14-28 days mandatory quarantine period imposed by the GoK at own cost,” he said.
The London embassy also clarified that the interested Kenyans would, however, have to foot the bill for their airfare with the flight cost details to be shared later.
“Info on dates and cost will be shared once the viability of flight is confirmed. We urge all Kenyans to remain vigilant as well as observe preventive measures as advised.”
On Friday, Esipisu confirmed that two Kenyans had succumbed to Covid-19 in the United Kingdom.
On Saturday, the government succumbed to public pressure and revealed that it will now evacuate Kenyans stranded in China and UAE, but at their own cost.
This came just a day after Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau ruled out any possibility of evacuating Kenyans stranded in China, the hotbed of coronavirus.
Appearing before the Foreign Affairs and Defence Parliamentary Committee on Wednesday, Kamau said the logistical hurdles would not allow mass evacuation as proposed by some Kenyans as “ndege sio matatu” (a plane is not a PSV vehicle).
The PS further told MPs that a large number of Kenyans living in China had not registered with the Kenyan embassy, which makes tracing them impossible.
In an earlier press conference, he had disclosed that some Kenyans lacked legal documentation, while others did not want to come back to the country.
Kenyans have been victims of racial discrimination targeting Africans living in China following a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.
They have been evicted from their houses, denied entry in hotels as well as public transport and have been forced to sleep out on the cold streets and beg for food.
In the United Arabs Emirates, Ambassador Kariuki Mugwe, in a letter dated April 15, asked Kenyans who had not registered with the embassy to do so and indicate whether they wanted to travel back home.
Mugwe said there are 50,000 Kenyans in the UAE and only 13,000 have registered with the embassy and the consulate.
“We therefore appeal to all Kenyans residents in this country to register with any of our two missions in order to have an accurate number of residents here…. You may also wish to indicate whether you need to travel back home for us to start the process of seeking relevant clearances and approval for the travel,” Ambassador Mugwe said in the notice.
UAE hosts many Kenyans working in various sectors of the country’s economy.