Awarded for its efforts in disaster risk reduction and in particular for its work during the Mukuru-Sinai slum (Nairobi) industrial accident in September 2011.

Category: Preparedness

On 12 September 2011, the Kenya Red Cross Society responded to an explosion at an oil pipeline in Nairobi’s Sinai Lunga Lunga informal settlement. The blast killed 82 people who had been scooping oil from the pipeline.

“We have been fetching oil from these sewer opening using sponges but today, oh my God was just too much,” cried one mother who lost her two children during the ensuing inferno.

An additional 106 people were rushed to the hospital suffering from burns and injuries arising from the stampede that followed as people ran for safety. The incident eventually claimed 121 lives and left 137 families homeless.

Disaster response teams and E-Plus ambulances from the Kenya Red Cross Society immediately swung into action, evacuating the injured to nearby hospitals. As the main organization entrusted by the Government of Kenya to respond to emergencies, the Kenya Red Cross Society coordinated responses from other organizations to ensure there were not any gaps or duplication of services. Staff and volunteers set up tents for registration, re-united missing family members and provided vital psychosocial support for those who survived.

More than 530 people were registered by the Kenya Red Cross Society as in need of assistance. Staff and volunteers helped distribute food and non-food items to those most vulnerable.

To prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future, the Kenya Red Cross Society implemented an Urban Disaster Risk Reduction Programme in seven informal settlements in Nairobi. Through this programme, volunteers and staff at the Red Cross visit settlements and children’s clubs, explaining the various hazards that exist and working with residents to find ways of mitigating those risks.