August 9, 2013 (NAIROBI) – The US state department has sent two military fire experts to help the Kenyan government investigate the cause of Wednesday morning’s fire that gutted the transit area at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), leaving travellers stranded and flights diverted.
Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation, quoted a US state department official as saying two American fire experts had already arrived in the country to assist the Kenyan authorities.
In addition to the fire experts, the newspaper also reported that the US is providing equipment to Kenya to help restore regular flights at JKIA.
On Wednesday, the head of Kenya’s anti-terrorism police unit ruled out terrorism as the cause of the fire.
The Kenyan media reported on Friday that during an inspection of repair work being carried out at the airport, president Uhuru Kenyatta also ruled out terrorism as a possible cause of the fire.
In the aftermath of the fire, US president Barack Obama, along with several other regional presidents called Kenyatta to offer words of encouragement and support.
Domestic flights have since resumed at the airport.
“We are determined that normal operations resume at the airport quickly, and are glad to see that a partial reopening has already taken place, with successful domestic flight operations”, Kenyatta was quoted by the Kenyan media as saying.
JKIA serves as a key hub for travellers from Africa en route to Europe and other parts of the world. The fire left many travellers stranded, with Uganda saying as many as 500 passengers bound for Kenya at its Entebbe international airport were also affected by the incident.