Ninety-one Kenyan students who were left stranded in Sudan over coronavirus jetted back on July 5 following coordination by MUHURI.
They got marooned for over 100 days, felt let down after the government failed to step in and help navigate desperate circumstances.
The first lot of 129 students from the International University of Africa arrived on June 28 at Moi International Airport, Mombasa after another vigorous management by MUHURI. Twenty tested positive for coronavirus and are isolated.
These students were already enduring sporadic conflicts in Sudan when coronavirus struck. With a brief notice, the Kenyan government cancelled flights and closed borders, leaving them with limited options. Even if they scrambled for a flight ticket, they faced a logistical nightmare that ensured they will never make it on time.
After running dangerously low on cash – all sent by their parents or guardians back home – the students were forced to rely on the generosity of their Sudanese counterparts. They continued to face glacially slow or no help from the government, a stark contrast from their colleagues in Asia and Europe.
Kenya Airways billed the airfare from Sudan at USD490 per person, an amount the students could not raise. And this is the crucial point MUHURI stepped in, providing leadership, and coordinating contributions from well-wishers, then directing them to the airline, KQ.
MUHURI also organized with the students’ parents to raise half the amount, then reached out to politicians and businesspeople who cleared the deficit.
The last lot, which landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, included residents of the capital, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Isiolo, Mandera, Garissa, Lamu, Nakuru, Kisumu, Busia, among other regions.
From the airport, they drove to Kenya Medical Training College, Karen before MUHURI organized a road transport for the 32 who are from the Coast. They arrived on July 8 at 3 am.
Currently, the group is quarantining at Kenya School of Government, Mombasa.