NAIROBI, Kenya, March 21 – Kenya Red Cross Society on Friday called on all those who were directly impacted by the Westgate siege to contact them to receive support in the ongoing recovery operations.
Secretary General of the Society Abbas Gullet asked all who lost kin or knows someone who did should contact them to receive the assistance.
Gullet had in October last year urged insurance firms to alleviate the costs by paying for some of the victims that were covered under them.
Later in November Kenya Red Cross announced that they still had a balance of Sh40 million of the money that had been collected as contributions.
Kenya Red Cross Director of External Relations and Resource mobilisation Wariko Waita said the money would be used to pay any pending bills incurred by those affected while seeking treatment and psychological help.
“The total amount of money that we received from Safaricom drive was Sh102, 331,346. From other donors, we got Sh39, 806,216.4. The total of this comes to Sh142, 137,560.64. The remaining amount was Sh40, 599,113.80,” she stated.
The hospitals that received the money were the MP Shah, Aga Khan, Mater, Kenyatta National and the Nairobi Hospital.
She told Capital FM News that the Society has also embarked on Phase of II of the psychosocial support for survivors with a target to reach about 10,000 people.
To be taken through the support were survivors, their families, responders, Kenya Defence Force soldiers, Police, journalists, schools and institutions.
She explained that the rationale behind this is that people are traumatised and must share their experiences so as not to contract larger mental health problems.
“Sharing experiences and unburdening emotions will bring relief from distress. It is also based on the fact that 8-10 percent of survivors directly exposed to the Westgate attack may go on develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) usually several months after the event. PTSD has the capacity to open the survivor to other disabling mental health conditions, for example, depression,” she said.
She outlined that the project will seek every opportunity to encourage every individual to create positive connections for the healing of survivors and to unite as one in building a safe nation of peace and security.
The gruesome attack on the Westgate mall in September 2013 by terrorists allied to the militant group Al Shabaab claimed 67 lives, and left 240 other people injured.