25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: 2000 School Children in Limbo

Masvingo Bureau — Nearly 2 000 school children in southern parts of Chiredzi and Mwenezi are currently learning in the open after heavy torrential rainfall recently destroyed classroom blocks at 28 schools in the two districts.

The heavy rains which spawned floods also left a trail of destruction at some of the schools sweeping away textbooks with schools in Chikombedzi's Limpopo Valley being the worst affected.

Scores of teachers' houses were also destroyed at some schools leaving them homeless.

A health time bomb is also ticking at some of the affected schools as more than 60 toilets were also destroyed by the rampaging rains which pounded the two districts last week.

Masvingo provincial education director Ms Clara Dube yesterday said the heavy rains had left a trail of destruction at most schools in Masvingo's Lowveld forcing school children to conduct lessons under trees in some areas.

Ms Dube said a total of 28 schools-mainly primary institutions-incurred severe damages on classroom blocks and toilets in southern Chiredzi and Mwenezi in the wake of the floods.

"We have a complete disaster in the Lowveld in southern Chiredzi and Mwenezi especially where a total of 28 schools experienced varying degrees of damage as a result of the flooding which was caused by heavy rains which fell in the areas recently.

"School children are currently learning in the open or under trees at the moment because in most cases classroom blocks were destroyed totally while in other cases roofs were blown away while textbooks were swept away by floods at most of the affected schools, there is a complete disaster,"she said.

The Masvingo provincial educational director said the exact value of the damage visited upon the affected schools by the rains had not yet been quantified but warned that hundreds of children will be forced to stop going to school if the rains fall again as they have no places to learn.

"At the moment the children are conducting their lessons in the open or under trees but if rains fall again it means they will have stop going to school altogether because they will have nowhere to conduct their lessons,"she said.

Ms Dube said most of the hardest hit institutions were satellite schools in southern Chikombezi and Mwenezi that were established on makeshift structures in resettlement areas.

In the Limpopo Valley the rains destroyed classroom blocks, teachers' houses and toilets at Mupinga, Chambuta, Sabhanani, Ruware, Matapura and Judea primary schools together with over 12 000 bricks that were meant for construction work at some of the schools.

In Mwenezi the floods destroyed a boy's hostel at Mwenezi government high school while they also swept away toilets and destroyed classroom blocks at Sarahuru,Nyamande,Negari, Hariyoumba,Bangwe,Rutenga and Dinhe primary schools.

The floods also inflicted damage on classroom blocks and collapsed toilets at Maranda,Batanai and Mwenezi government high school among others in Mwenezi district.

The Masvingo provincial education director said her office has since forwarded a report of the damaged schools to the Planning, Research and Development(PRD) department in the Ministry of Education which is responsible providing funds and grants for buildings rehabilitation among other tasks.

The Lowveld area in southern Masvingo has over the past few weeks experienced heavy flooding caused by incessant rains that have been falling in the area of late resulting in widespread flooding which destroyed homes and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

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