Ugandan students in Wuhan get Sh6 million for food

65 Ugandan students are government-sponsored students while 40 are on private sponsorship

In Summary

• Medical student told a local paper that they are starving in China. 

• At least 85 Kenyan students are also stranded in Wuhan but the Kenyan government has not reported offering them any material assistance.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
NO EVACUATION: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Image: FILE

Uganda will send to each of its students in Wuhan some Sh58,000 ($580) for upkeep after they complained they were 'dying of hunger'. 

The country's Health Minister Ruth Aceng said in a statement that the Foreign Affairs ministry would send $61,000 (Sh6.1 million) to students stranded in Wuhan but would not evacuate them. 

“A total of 65 are known government-sponsored students while 40 are on private sponsorship. Our mission in Beijing is in contact with these students on a daily basis. They created a WhatsApp group called Wechat which enables them to chat. The officer designated to follow them up is Amb Philip Kanyoonzi,” Aceng said in a statement. 

At least 85 Kenyan students are also stranded in Wuhan but the Kenyan government has not reported offering them any material assistance. 

Aceng said her country does not have specialised knowledge to deal with Coronavirus and would therefore not evacuate the students. 

"It is safe to keep those persons in Wuhan city there because the city is under lockdown. Uganda does not have the specialised capacity to handle Coronavirus. The country is already stressed with outbreaks,’‘ Aceng said. 

One Ugandan student stranded in Wuhan told a local university publication that he and colleagues are depressed and are running out of food and other supplies. 

“If the virus does not kill us, then hunger will. Food is scarce and the only single open place is about 6km from here. We are depressed and beyond frustrated, we need to be evacuated from here before things escalate,”  the medical student, Thomas Kanzira, said

On Friday, the Addis Ababa-based Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) appealed to African countries to allow their citizens to return home from China. 

Kenya has already ruled out evacuating its 85 students from Wuhan, saying they are better off there. 

“For Africans who are returning from China, we have the obligation to receive our citizens and keep them for a while and monitor them and release them into the community because as of yesterday, we started receiving reports that some countries are refusing their own citizens from coming back to the country. It cannot happen,” Africa CDC director Dr John Nkengasong said.

The centre says it has trained 15 African countries that were most at risk and they would be ready to screen for Coronavirus from Monday. 

Currently, the Kenya Medical Research Institute has the capacity to test for the virus. 

The death toll from epidemic surged past 1,500 on Saturday and infected nearly 65,000 people in 28 countries. 

Edited by R.Wamochie