Joining the Kenya Red Cross Society (KCRS) was Elizabeth Ndambuki’s dream since childhood.
She eventually joined the humanitarian agency a year ago and was among the emergency responders at dusitD2 Hotel complex in Riverside Drive, Nairobi, when terrorists struck.
The 21-year-old paramedic spent 18 hours at the scene of terror and describes it as heart-rending and nerve-racking ordeal.
“We received a call at 3pm that there was an emergency here but we were told not to respond until we were assured that police had arrived first. After ten minutes, we were told to come and we rushed here,” Ndambuki said.
But when KCRS team arrived at the scene ten minutes later, they could not go beyond the entrance to the dusitD2 hotel.
“We were among the very first people to arrive here, but we could not proceed to the hotel building because a few metres from the entrance, we witnessed an exchange of gun fire between security officers and the terrorists,” she said.
She said the shoot-out occurred at the stretch of the road that leads to the hotel.
“Shortly, the situation calmed and a student from the University of Nairobi who was shot in the abdomen lay dead on the road. There were firefighters putting out fire that was consuming three cars,” Ndambuki said.
Together with her colleagues they covered the body of the student with a thermal blanket and was later taken to the mortuary.
At 5pm, she said, they began seeing people come out of the hotel complex.
“We were told that one of the terrorists had blow himself up at the entrance of the hotel. I also saw a man jump out of the window from the second floor. We gave him first aid because he had a broken femur bone. We gave him first aid and he was taken to Kenyatta National Hospital by my colleagues,” Elizabeth said.
She is happy that quick response by security officers saved lives of hundreds of people.