The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) was the first to respond, reacting within minutes after a shooting onslaught erupted at a popular shopping centre in Nairobi on 21 September.
The attack at the Westgate Mall, which was carried out by a group armed with hand grenades and guns, claimed 68 lives and injured more than 175. Another 49 individuals are reported missing.
As the situation unfolds, KRCS continues to provide vital services, including the establishment of a psychosocial team on site. The psychosocial team has been providing psychological first aid and support to the families and friends of those who were killed or injured in the attack, as well as to the more than 1000 people who were evacuated from the mall during the assault.
In order to reduce the negative psychosocial repercussions of the attack, among those directly affected and the general population, the National Society’s planned psychosocial activities include strengthening mental health and psychosocial support services, establishing a helpline to contact and trace the victims of the attacks and providing psychosocial support services to an estimated 1500 people. It is further anticipated that roughly 300 family contact and tracing operations will be necessary, as well as 150 individual counselling sessions.
Trained Red Cross volunteers have been tasked with implementing Restoring Family Links procedures to help reunite family members who were separated during the incident. The National Society has also set up a tracing and information help desk to record all missing persons.
In addition to the national response team, volunteers were drawn from several branches, including Parklands, Nairobi and Karen Langata. These were further joined by staff and volunteers from the outlying branches that include Kiambu, Machakos and Makueni. Staff and volunteers from other branches across the country are on standby.
For more information, read the article on the IFRC website: http://ifrc.org/news-and-media/news-stories/africa/kenya/kenya-red-cross-society-responds-to-deadly-attack-in-nairobi-63353/.