Kenyans and other Africans have been forced to live in the streets after they were evicted from their houses in China as the Chinese accused them of having Coronavirus. According to the Chinese Health authorities, 63 new cases were reported in mainland China with 61 of them said to have been imported.
Kenyans.co.ke spoke to a number of Kenyans stuck in China who are trying to find their way through the predicament facing them, with one residing in Guangzhou revealing that she was in quarantine, where food was being rationed and the condition was hard to live in.
"They took me into quarantine yesterday, Thursday, April 9, but the food is just noodles. They said we stay here for 14 days. So after the 14 days, we don't know what will happen next. We need to be home before it gets worse for us," she pleaded.
"I don't have food or money. It's not fair. We are not allowed to use public transport, we are not allowed in the supermarkets, we are not allowed to go outside our houses. They keep saying that Africans are now the ones with the virus. The police are the ones chasing people around the city. Even if you go to them for help, they say they cannot help," she added.
She has also been in contact with some of her friends in Beijing, China, who she says slept out in the cold for three days, went to the Kenyan Embassy to seek help weren't fruitful. Others are in Guangzhou, where she is quarantined, but are stranded in the streets.
However, despite the tension, some locals are still friendly, as they rescued her from the discrimination and offered her a safe haven.
"Yes, yesterday, Thursday, April 9, they rescued me and aided me to get a hotel. For me, I feel that was a good act. But this makes us so sad since the situation gets worse each day for us here. We feel like we don't belong anywhere if no one is fighting for us. There are two pregnant ladies who went to the hospital and were denied access.
"No one has been beaten, but they force you out of your house saying that they don't want to rent houses to foreigners anymore," she disclosed.
Another one, in Guangzhou, China also, escaped Chinese nationals' wrath but revealed that she feared for her life as she recorded a video and shared it with friends in Kenya.
"They have taken my friends to quarantine for 14 days. I don't know what to do, It's either I choose food or a place to stay," she disclosed.
"We have no money to pay rent as we have consumed all our resources. Where do they want us to go? We cannot pay for rent," she cried out in the video.
Chinese nationals even went ahead to print notices stating that individuals who had rented houses to people of colour should ensure they are evicted. A screenshot of a conversation seen by Kenyans.co.ke between a taxi driver and a Kenyan indicated that they refused to offer their services to Africans, whom they dubbed foreigners. However, according to Miller Nyokoa, a Kenyan journalist working in China, the situation may be different from what is being projected.
"A while ago, there was a regulation released by China's government stating that foreigners and locals will be treated equally when it comes to quarantine rules, 14 days, in designated areas," Nyokoa argued.
In a screenshot seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Kenya's Ambassador to China, Sarah Serem, had reportedly requested a group of Kenyans in a Whatsapp group to remove her from the group.
"Ambassador Sarah Serem has requested me to remove her, but I have been informing her about the needs spelt out in this group. If she offers any assistance, I will communicate promptly," a message from someone who appeared to be an administrator in the group reads.
Another screenshot dated Monday, April 6, showed one Kenyan asking for help from Serem, informing her that they were seated outside the Kenyan Embassy in China seeking help. Serem reportedly did not reply.
Serem, who travelled back to China in February 2020, resorted to praying for Kenyans as the government distanced itself from airlifting them back to Kenya.
"I embrace every student in Wuhan as my child and part of my family. Every breath of my life is a whisper of prayer for each Kenyan locked up at the centre of the virus. I think of Olivia, the pregnant girl, think of Kevin and his family, his pregnant wife and little 3-year-old baby girl," Serem stated as reported by Citizen TV on February 17.
In Hyderabad India, Kenyans are also gripped with fear of being evicted, with most of them in hiding and isolation inside their houses.
"One of us is in Hyderabad and I can't imagine how he would live if evicted. He can't access food, he can't go to the bank. It's really scary. And probably he can't reach his relatives back in Kenya and he can't also leave the country. We are just crossing our fingers. I hope he will be safe," a Kenyan who has a friend in India informed Kenyans.co.ke, that communication between him and the friend had been cut off.
Efforts to reach Kenya's Ambassador to India, Willy Bett were in vain as he did not respond and officials at the embassy declined to comment stating that it would be better to be issued with an official statement.
Kenya Airways suspended all scheduled flights to Guangzhou, China following the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak as Serem failed to give any assurances on evacuating the students out of the country.
"I would not advise trying to extract Kenyans in Wuhan until we are sure they are safe from the virus, let us be patient for a resolution. Kenyans are safe and no one has been reported to be infected with the virus,” she told reporters.
As Kenyans in China and India live in fear and uncertainty, the Kenyan Government revealed plans of evacuating Kenyans in Latin America. Transport CS James Macharia revealed the plan on Tuesday evening, April 7, in an interview with Citizen TV.
"Decisions had to be made with the global picture in mind because this is not a pandemic that is only in Kenya and that is why even after we made the decisions, some countries still continued flying to the hot spots, long after Kenya had actually stopped doing so. That is why we had a challenge in evacuating some of our students in those countries. As we are speaking today, we are discussing how to evacuate some of our students in Latin America, who are in the shipping industry," the CS noted.