The Star (Nairobi)

15 May 2013

Kenya: Floods Keep 5,000 Tana River Pupils Out of Schools

MORE than 5,500 pupils have not reported to school in Tana River county since the floods begun paralysing learning activities in the area.

County education officials said the children were from 18 primary and secondary schools which were marooned and others could not be reached after the road was cut off.

Reports indicate that eight schools with 2296 children were completely flooded making it difficult for both teachers and the pupils to access them.

The floods have affected nearly 10,000 families in the entire Tana River county with Tanadelta leading forcing victims to move in camps. County education director Mohamed Shee said other 10 schools with 3,135 pupils were also inaccessible.

In a telephone interview Shee called for immediate intervention to help the children resume normal learning as the situation was really affecting the education standards of the region.

Already the county is known for its high illiteracy levels and disasters that hamper the education sector. "Learning activities have been paralyzed since the schools opened this month, we have 5,431 children from 18 primary and secondary school in this county who have not resumed learning," he said.

The county director said even the teachers from 18 primary schools were forced to be deployed to other schools which were not affected by the floods temporarily until normalcy returned in the area.

He said they had received reports that some of the facilities in the affected schools like doors had been vandalized by thieves and expressed fears that there could be much damage as there was no one to monitor them.

Currently he said plans were under way to help the affected pupils access learning like others in the country. "The county Education board ins setting up plans to assist the affected children access learning activities even if it will mean transferring them to schools which are on safer grounds," he said.

Kenya Redcross officials who are on the ground since the disaster begun said it was unfortunate that the locals could not access education while rest of Kenyans were going on with their normal learning activities.

Mahdi Mohamed the head of disaster in the country who was in the area last week said the problem could contribute to the high illiteracy levels in the region.

Secretary general Abbas Gullet also toured the area and asked the government to declare Tana River as a disaster zone. Currently the officials together with other humanitarian organizations and Government officials have begun distributing non food items and relief to over 3500 who have not been reached since the floods begun.

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