Kenya: Mall Attack Emergency Appeal no. MDRKE027 Operation update n°2


Period covered by this Ops Update: 22 October to 8 December, 2013.

Appeal target (current): CHF 3,581,308

Appeal coverage: 1%

Donor contributions to the appeal are encouraged in order to enable sustainable psychosocial support and psychosocial education (raising awareness on the potential psychological reactions to an emergency context) to the affected persons and families of the Westgate mall attack.

Appeal history:

  • This Emergency Appeal was launched on 22 October, 2013 for CHF 3,581,308 to support the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) to assist up to 25,000 people affected by the Westgate hostage crisis in Nairobi, for 12 months.

  • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 204,841 was initially allocated from the Federation’s DREF to support the National Society to respond.

  • An operations update n°1 was issued on 17 December 2013 providing a brief overview of the situation and to request for support for this appeal from donors

  • This operations update n°2 provides detailed information of the activities undertaken and operational challenges faced by the KRCS to date.

Summary: On Saturday 21 September 2013, the Westgate shopping mall was attacked by an armed group. The Kenya Red Cross was among the first responders, assisting with ambulance services, triage, life support, tracing and restoration of family links, psychosocial support and evacuation as people were released from the building. Within the first hour, KRCS deployed 12 Advanced Life Support Ambulances supported by an additional team of paramedics from Emergency Medical Services (E-Plus) and a fleet of service Land Cruisers. It is reported that the attack left approximately 194 causalities who survived various injuries, and over 67 lives were lost.

A DREF operation was launched to cover the immediate response that included emergency response, first aid and rescue efforts, including efforts to reduce the number of deaths from the Westgate Shopping Mall attack, reduce delays in blood donation services and for referrals to secondary and tertiary care centres providing emergency care to victims. The initial activities also aimed to reduce the psychosocial effects of the attack among those directly affected and among the general public.

KRCS also launched a one-week countrywide blood donation drive, psychosocial support services across various hospitals within the city, and set up a 24-hour command centre in the vicinity of the Westgate Shopping Mall.

This Emergency Appeal responded to a request from the Kenya National Society to prevent long term psychological consequences for those affected and to promote resilience in the form of improved disaster preparedness and risk reduction. The activities intended to enhance healing, readjustment and reintegration of those directly and indirectly affected by the disaster. The specific activities planned include: setting up of drop-in centres to facilitate referrals, provision of individual and group psychosocial support (including lay-counselling), recreational play centres for children, crisis hotline, setting up of call centres, provision of professional assistance awareness creation sensitization and psycho education, and tracing and restoration of family links.

The appeal also aims to strengthen the KRCS response capacity, in particular focus will be put on equipping the KRCS Emergency Medical Services (EMS) ambulances.

So far only the activities under the DREF operation have been carried out, due to the low level of funding towards the appeal. Other activities carried out by KRCS have been undertaken with funds from other sources in country.

There is still a need to cater for the longer term needs of trauma counselling for affected persons, as well as ensuring sufficient capacity and equipment in place for saving lives during crisis situations.

The Canadian Red Cross contributed to the replenishment of the DREF allocated for this operation and subsequently agreed to transfer this contribution towards the Emergency Appeal. Other donors are encouraged to support the activities under this appeal.