At least 800 hotel employees in Kwale County laid off due to the novel coronavirus outbreak has begun receiving food packages from mining firm Base Titanium to help them through the crisis.
The Kwale based Australian mining firm also assisted with food items 190 fishermen, 143 boat operators and 88 curio sellers plying their trade-in Ukunda Township.
Many tourist establishments in the coastal county have closed indefinitely as a result of the covid-19 outbreak leading to many employees finding themselves without work.
Some of the shut hotels are running with a skeleton workforce to ensure the integrity of their buildings.
The beneficiaries received pre-packaged food hampers containing maize and wheat flour, beans, rice, sugar, cooking oil, salt, and tea leaves.
Base Titanium Community Relations’ Manager Pius Kassim on Wednesday said the coronavirus crisis has had a very significant impact on the hospitality industry in the region forcing many hotels to lay off staff.
He said the food packages for the laid-off staff was meant to help them through the coronavirus crisis that has disrupted life across the globe.
He said the few employees who survived the harsh economic environment occasioned by the pandemic has seen significant cuts in their salaries.
Kassim who is coordinating the mining firm’s response to the covid-19 situation in the region disclosed that others who benefited from the food donations were 120 bartenders, 80 commercial sex workers and 42 taxi operators.
He said the current health crisis has had a very significant impact on many businesses that relied on the tourism and hospitality sector.
“All the beneficiaries were people who in one way or the other had their sources of income disappear as a result of the viral disease,” he said adding that many were facing economic hardships and uncertain future.
He said the beneficiaries would continue to receive food packages from the company to sustain their daily needs.
One of the beneficiaries Biali Omar told KNA that many of the laid-off hotel workers in the region were struggling financially due to joblessness and were very appreciative of the food support.
She said hundreds of laid-off workers have little recourse as the entire tourism industry shut down due to the virus.
“Many of us were let go with little or no severance pay,” she lamented adding that they were having a hard time finding alternative jobs.
By Hussein Abdullahi