Kenya airport fire leaves Taiwanese stranded in Zambia


TAIPEI – -About two-dozen Taiwanese tourists remain stranded in Zambia waiting for flights back to Kenya after a massive fire last week temporarily closed down the international airport in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, Taiwanese officials said yesterday.

The Taiwanese tourists traveling in two tour groups were scheduled to fly home through Kenya but could not when their flights were disrupted by the Aug. 7 fire at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao said.

According to the Tourism Bureau, a total of 25 Taiwanese tourists are stuck in Zambia.

Taiwan does not have representative offices in either Kenya or Zambia, but officials at the Taiwanese representative office in South Africa will travel to Zambia as soon as possible to offer assistance to the stranded tourists, said David Wang, director-general of the ministry’s Department of West Asian and African Affairs.

Though the airport in Nairobi has reopened, Wang said he has not received any information yet on when the travelers in Zambia would get flights home.

In Kenya, meanwhile, no Taiwanese nationals were caught in the Nairobi fire, Kao said.

Also, none of the 53 Taiwanese traveling in five groups in Kenya have been affected by flight disruptions there because they were not expected to return to Taiwan until late August, according to the Tourism Bureau.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, but Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta has ruled out terrorism.