A former Illawarra family now living in Nairobi said the city was slowly returning to normal, even as a terrorist siege at the Westgate shopping centre entered its third day yesterday.
Nicole and John Mwangi and their children Kiki, 11, and Jaz, 9, were at home in Kileleshwa, about a 10-minute drive from the shopping centre, when the first shots rang out in a killing spree that has claimed at least 68 lives.
Speaking yesterday from the hospital where he tended to a friend who received gunshot wounds to her hand and leg in the attack by Somali Islamist militants, Mr Mwangi said he was thankful for his family's wellbeing.
"We are safe. We are very, very lucky we were home at the time of the attack. It [Westgate Mall] is an area that we frequent, especially at the weekend," he said.
"We are talking about [a shopping complex] the size of Bondi Junction, that would be the [Australian] equivalent."
Three more of the family's friends were inside the complex during the attack. They hid in a bank and inside retail shops until they were able to escape unharmed.
Mr Mwangi, a director for an NGO with political aspirations, lived in the Illawarra for 15 years before he and Mrs Mwangi, of Mt Warrigal, relocated with their children to his native Kenya two years ago.
Mr Mwangi said Nairobi was noticeably subdued in the immediate aftermath of the attack but his children had gone to school on Monday as normal, and the streets had regained their usual bustle after the defence forces secured the complex.
He said his countrymen would recover from the attack, and he still considered the city safe, not to be avoided by foreigners.
"These things do happen - we see them happening across the world," he said. "I just want to reassure people back [in Australia] that we are safe, we are well. Life is going on and we need the support of the international community."