Thousands of people have turned out to support those affected by the devastating Westgate Shopping Mall attack by giving blood at Kenya Red Cross Society donation drives. A blood drive held at downtown Nairobi saw nearly 3,000 units collected in one day alone. The response from the public was so overwhelming that the drive will continue at the Uhuru Park and other locations throughout the country for the coming days.
“There was an amazing turnout at Uhuru Park today. As well as giving blood, hundreds of new volunteers signed up to give their time to help. We even had a group of hotel staff delivering food for all the volunteers and those donating blood,” said Susan Onyango, Senior Communications Officer with the IFRC.
Even local celebrities came along to lend support.
Meshack Simba, 22, put aside the glamour of acting to volunteer with the Kenya Red Cross help out in the operation. For three days he has been giving first aid at the Westgate Shopping Mall and the Visa Oshwal operation centre and then again today at the Uhuru Park blood donation drive.
“I feel so proud to be part of the Red Cross response and it is a good feeling to be doing something constructive,” said Meshack. “The turnout of people today to give blood has been really inspiring and it is clear that everyone wants to pull together and support those affected,” he added.
As well as blood donation drives, the Red Cross has been providing first aid, psychosocial support and help to evacuate those injured from the Westgate Shopping Mall to nearby hospitals.
Photo:Meshack Simba gives instructions to a blood donor. Susan Onyango/IFRC