Kenyans had by noon Monday contributed Sh36 million through Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service towards humanitarian efforts following the Westgate Mall tragedy in a powerful show of solidarity with the affected.
Safaricom confirmed that 100, 000 people had contributed the funds through M-Pesa barely 24 hours since the beginning of the exercise on Sunday.
The telco said the funds will be directed to the Kenya Red Cross which is in charge of the country’s humanitarian aid undertakings and will be used to finance rescue operations of the Westgate Mall victims.
“In keeping with our commitment to positively impact the lives of Kenyans, we have set up a special zero rated PayBill Number 848484 to coordinate the fundraising effort towards the medical care and support of the victims of the Westgate Mall Tragedy,” Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said in a statement.
Contributions made by Kenyans range between Sh10 and Sh50, 000.
National Assembly members will Tuesday also forego their sitting allowances to raise Sh2 million for the relief, Speaker Justin Muturi said. The 349 MPs are paid Sh5,000 per House sitting.
Kenya Red Cross has been evacuating and offering first aid to victims alongside steering blood donation drive for those injured in the Westgate incident.
“I would like to reassure all Kenyans that we will account for every penny received towards this worthy cause. Please continue contributing,” Kenya Red Cross general secretary Abbas Gullet said.
He said they were targeting to raise Sh80 million to effectively manage their rescue operations including the ongoing blood drive which entered the second day in Nairobi at Uhuru Park.
Airtel Kenya has also set up a similar account with donations made under the Business Name RedCross. The telco had collected Sh64, 033 as at 10.45 am as shown on its website.
A group believed to be of between 10 and 15 gunmen stormed the upmarket Westgate Mall on Saturday at around noon and engaged in a shooting spree that left scores of people dead and hundreds injured.
By 2 pm Monday, the government had placed the death toll at 62.
The injured are receiving treatment at various hospitals around Nairobi, including MP Shah Hospital, Guru Nanak Hospital and Kanyatta National Hospital.