Kenya Coast is Safe

The Kenya Tourism Board yesterday reassured visitors that the coast is
safe after effects of the tsunami in South-East Asia whose death toll
has hit 150,000. At the same time, the board joined the global travel industry in sending
condolences to the victims’ families after the under-sea earthquake of
December 26.

        “Our deepest sympathies are with those who lost their friends and loved
ones in the tragedy,” chairman Jake Grieves-Cook told the Nation.

        Fortunately for Kenya, the coast did not experience the devastation,
destruction and human suffering that afflicted the other countries. 

        KTB attributed this partly to the coral reef that runs along the
coastline and protects the beaches. 

        The Kenyan coast experienced only unusually high swells and choppy
conditions on the afternoon of the quake, with exceptional tidal surges
and waves. Damage was limited to a few fishing boats, mainly around
Malindi.

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        “As soon as we heard reports of the earthquake and tidal waves, we
contacted international meteorologists and also made contact with
authorities and hoteliers in the Seychelles to assess the situation
there and to establish if the Kenyan coast was likely to feel any
subsequent effects,” he said. 

        “Based on this advance information, the beach resorts and tourist hotels
were alerted so that hoteliers and tour operators could undertake the
necessary action to secure their facilities and ensure the safety of
their guests.” 

        People in the tourism industry, he noted, cooperated with Government
authorities at the coast as well as the Kenya Ports Authority, the Kenya
Wildlife Service, police and the navy, among other organisations, who
made sure there was a general alert and the situation well monitored. 

        Mr Grieves-Cook said it was the prompt action and cooperation that saved
the situation, and that KTB had been in constant contact with hoteliers
and tour operators all along the coast - from Lamu to Mombasa and the
South Coast
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