LOC for the World U20 championships move to ensure virus is contained

Friday, March 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Members of the LOC at the Malaba border to check the levels of security. Photo/PD/WEBSTER NYANDIKA

The 2020 World Under 20 Athletics Championships has received a major boost in the wake of the current corona virus threat, as the country’s security machinery vowed to go an extra mile to ensure all is well at all the entry points ahead of the global event set for July 7 to 12 in Nairobi.

Local Organising Committee security teams have been touring various entry points within the country to sensitise their counterparts on the expectations before, during and after the championships that is expected to bring together athletes, officials, scribes and support staff from more than 50 countries.

The team which was divided into two visited both the western and coastal regions.

Coast regional commissioner John Elungata assured the security team that Mombasa is ready as they have experience from hosting many international events at the coast.

He said while the terror threat from the notorious Al Shaabab Terrorist Group is a reality, they are well prepared.

“At the coast, we have a well-equipped Anti-Terror Police Unit. We are always alert, and we have dealt with many threats and prevented several attacks.

This is a priority for us and we can assure you that we have put measures in place to ensure we deal with every eventuality if and when it arises,” he added.

The Mombasa team, led by security and accreditation director Joseph Kiget, also toured the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. This is the next available international airport in case flights are diverted from Nairobi for whatever reason.

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) regional airport manager, Peter Wafula, took the team through what to expect in case flights are diverted from Nairobi.

The airport’s Unit 2 that was used for the 2007 World Cross Country Championship in Mombasa still has the same facilities in place.

“Unit 2 is in perfect condition. We have enough immigration desks as well as luggage conveyor belts to deal with multiple flights.

In case the airport is to be used to receive our visitors for the championship, we will have Unit 2 exclusively set a side for that purpose. No one else will be allowed on this side,” he said.

At the Kenya Ports Authority, Managing Director Manduku welcomed the committee, pledging full support for the event.

“I know the importance of the Port of Mombasa because a lot of equipment will pass through here. During the 2017 World athletics Under-18 Championship, we had a lot of equipment to clear.

Just like in 2017, we will give it first priority and waive all charges. You will only pay for handling charges,” said the MD.

KPA will give the goods a priority and put them on the Standard Gauge Railway within 24 hours of landing at the port of Mombasa.

In an impressive move, KPA has built an isolation facility at the port in case there are any coronavirus cases from the cruise ships that dock at the port of Mombasa.

 In western, the team visited Kakamega, Busia border, Malaba and the Moi international Airport in Eldoret while the Mombasa, team toured the Kenya Ports Authority and the Moi International airport, Mombasa.  

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