Thirteen children killed in Kenya primary school stampede

Parents and teachers gather near the scene of a stampede at Kakamega primary school in Kakamega, Kenya. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Thirteen children killed in Kenya primary school stampede

  • Police have launched an inquiry into what caused the crowd of students to panic, leading to the crush
  • Kakamega’s police chief David Kabena: We lost 13 children in this stampede and others are in hospital due to injuries

NAIROBI: At least 13 children died and dozens of others were injured in a stampede as they left their primary school in Kenya on Monday, local police said, with investigators still trying to ascertain the cause of the tragedy.
The police have launched an inquiry into what caused the crowd of students to panic, leading to the crush at around 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT) at the school in the western town of Kakamega.
In the aftermath of the stampede, the police cordoned off the school and took statements from the teaching staff.
Images broadcast by local media showed parents gathered in front of the emergency ward of a hospital in the town, waiting for news of their children.
“We lost 13 children in this stampede and others are in hospital due to injuries,” Kakamega’s police chief David Kabena told reporters at the scene.
“We have launched an investigation to establish what exactly happened,” he added.
One of the children’s mothers blamed the teachers.
“Those who survived said they were running because there were teachers who were beating them, and that is why they were escaping and fell on each other,” the mother said in an interview with local media.
She said the children were mostly in grade five, aged between 10 and 12.
Corporal punishment is banned in Kenya.
The Kakamega Primary School did not immediately comment on the incident.
“We are devastated by the tragedy that has hit Kakamega Primary School this evening,” said Kenya’s Vice President William Ruto in a post on Twitter.
“Our prayers, love and thoughts to the families and relatives of the victims of the misfortune.”
Kenya Red Cross said on Twitter that it was setting up psychological support services, as well as a “tracing desk” to help relatives locate potentially affected students.
The Red Cross said 39 students had been admitted to a local hospital.
St. John’s Ambulance meanwhile tweeted that at least 14 students had been killed and more than 50 injured, including two who were in an intensive care unit. Some 37 had been treated and discharged from hospital.
The tragedy comes just two days after 20 people were killed in a stampede at an open-air evangelical Christian church service over the border in Tanzania.
In 2016, nine students were killed by a fire at a girls’ high school in the Kibera neighborhood of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.


Eight monks catch virus at remote Greek Orthodox site

Updated 21 September 2020

Eight monks catch virus at remote Greek Orthodox site

  • Mount Athos, a 1,000-year-old site and one of the Orthodox Church’s most venerated places, has 20 monasteries and almost 1,700 monks
  • The community, known for its austere rules, is almost completely isolated in a mountainous nature reserve in the Macedonia region

ATHENS: Eight monks have tested positive for coronavirus and their monastery in a remote Orthodox Christian community in northern Greece has been quarantined, a Church official said on Monday.
One of the monks was taken to hospital in Thessaloniki in a serious condition, said the official who declined to be named.
It is not the first outbreak at the Mount Athos site — four monks tested positive in March after traveling to Britain but recovered quickly.
Mount Athos, a 1,000-year-old site and one of the Orthodox Church’s most venerated places, has 20 monasteries and almost 1,700 monks.
The community, known for its austere rules, is almost completely isolated in a mountainous nature reserve in the Macedonia region.
The country’s lockdown from March to May hit the Church hard, wrecking its Easter celebrations.
Church leaders disputed some of the science behind the confinement rules — agreeing to halt masses but refusing to ban communion.
Greece has so far registered 338 deaths and more than 15,000 infections from the virus.