Tension, fear and anxiety gripped Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital Lilongwe on Friday afternoon, when news spread that hospital was about to receive mass casualties from a fire accident at Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
Doctors, nurses and other hospital staff were seen panicking as hospital security personnel ordered vehicles and people hanging around the casualty ward car park off-the place in anticipation of the arrival of mass casualties from the said fire accident at Malawi’s central bank.
Clinicians were seen moving stretchers towards the car park while wearing gloves and aprons ready to wash blood. Some joined Ambulances that were rushed to the central bank to pick casualties.
As the doctors and nurses braced for a tough experience, patients, guardians and onlookers stood at a distance, speaking to each other in undertones.
Seconds, minutes then an hour passed without the casualties surfacing on the hospital yard and one of clinicians was overheard lambasting the management of Reserve Bank.
“It’s almost an hour since we got news about the fire accident but no single casualty is here. There is poor management of crises at the bank. Do they have to wait for ambulances to go and pick the casualties?” queried the clinician.
Some disgruntled clinicians chose to have a go at two photojournalists, including Nyasa Times photographer who were capturing images of the scene at the hospital yard.
After over an hour of anticipation, news started filtering in that it was just a hoax as some authorities wanted to test the hospital’s preparedness in case of major accidents.
This was confirmed when the ambulances that had been dispatched to city centre drove back without any casualties on board.
Lilongwe Police Public Relations officer Inspector Kingsley Dandaula confirmed it was just a hoax, aimed at testing the hospital’s preparedness in handling major accidents.
“This also happened at Kamuzu International Airport a couple of months ago. It was the same case at the hospital today and the Reserve Bank should be able to furnish you with more details,” said Dandaula.
Efforts to speak to the Reserve Bank spokesperson Mbane Ngwira proved futile but sources from the bank confided in Nyasa Times that it was a hoax.