The Price Kenyans Stranded in the United Kingdom Will Pay for Evacuation

A photo of a plane mid-air
A plane flying above the clouds

Kenyans stranded in Britain due to the Coronavirus pandemic can now afford to smile after the government agreed to send a plane to bring them home.

The flight has been actualised after fruitful negotiations between the British High Commission and the Government of Kenya.

The flight is set to leave Nairobi on Friday, April 24 with British nationals who were stranded in Kenya due to cancellation of inbound and outbound flights within the Kenyan airspace on March 25. 

An image of a man holding a stash of cash
Kenya's new currency notes being displayed.
Simon Kiragu

However, the trip will cost each passenger Ksh 56,000 inclusive of Coronavirus tests in London before being allowed to board, with those having small children required to pay an extra charge of Ksh 5,600. 

Once they arrive in the country, they are expected to go into a mandatory 14 day quarantine period at their own cost in a quarantine facility of their choice within Nairobi.

Kenyans have been calling on the government to evacuate its citizens who are stranded abroad and being subjected to hate and racial discrimination, after videos and images surfaced online, showing Kenyans and other African nationals in China being chased out of their apartments and forced into quarantine.

On Wednesday, April 15, Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau, while appearing before the Parliamentary Defence and Foreign Relations Committee, ruled out the evacuation of Kenyans abroad citing cost and logistical challenges.

''It is impossible to charter flights to pick Kenyans stranded in various countries and bring them back home in the face of the current global crisis,

''We have 3 million Kenyans in other countries if we are to evacuate just one per cent of them, imagine the logistics, our planes will have have to crisscross the globe. Just imagine bringing 30,000 people back. Do we even have enough quarantine facilities for all of them?'' he posed. 

Ambassador Macharia, while supporting his arguments, opened up about an Emirates plane that was coming to Nairobi from the UAE and after the government asked the plane to carry Kenyans in its flight, only 13 of them showed up at the airport.

“The other day, an Emirates plane was coming to Nairobi and there were over 300 people shouting on social media, ‘evacuate us’, we are ready to pay.

''When the time came, only 13 agreed to pay. I’d be the happiest person if there were people out there who would want to come back and pay for themselves,” he explained. 

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau April 14, 2020.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau April 14, 2020.