116 pipeline fire survivors in hospital

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 12 – At least 112 people were on Monday afternoon admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital with severe burns, following a pipeline fire at the Sinai slum in Nairobi.

KNH Chief Executive Officer Richard Leresian said the patients were in critical condition at the time of admission but said they were immediately stabilised by doctors.

“I just want to confirm that we have received 112 burn patients. Any number above 60 to us is actually a disaster position and so we have put in place disaster management protocol to be able to contain the situation,” he stated.

“Even some of my staff who were actually off and others on leave have reported in the last two hours,” he pointed out.

He appealed to well wishers to support the hospital’s endeavours.

“I want to call upon the public and Kenyans to support us during this critical situation particularly in providing blood. This is because we have a possibility that those admitted will require blood,” he said.

“We are also calling upon the public to provide us with blankets because this kind of disaster constrains our capacity both in terms of physical and human resources.”

Mater Hospital which is closer to the scene of the disaster, admitted four patients.

“Only three of them had below 30 percent burns. So far we have admitted three at the Mater Hospital in the ward and one in the ICU. The one in the ICU has quite extensive burns up to between 80 and 90 percent,” a hospital official said.

More than 100 people died in the fire which occurred in the densely packed tin-shack slum.

Many residents were caught up in the blaze, and a Capital News reporter at the scene counted up to 102 charred bodies around the fire.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who rushed to the scene hours later emphasised the need for leaders to commit serious investments in disaster preparedness including countrywide public education to avert such calamities.

“Enough is enough. I will rally my colleagues in Government and Parliament to spare time to deliberate immediate, mid-term and long-term measures that will avert accidents and disasters that continue piling the burden of orphans on families that are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

He underscored the need for there to be a concerted effort in finding lasting solutions to our increasingly disaster vulnerable citizens.

President Mwai Kibaki also sent a message of condolences to the bereaved families and was due to visit the survivors at KNH later on Monday. Prime Minister Raila Odinga also visited the tragedy scene.

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