Kenya: Anxiety in Flood-Hit Counties as Schools Reopen

Vehicles submerged in River Malmalte on the Kapenguria-Kainuk-Lodwar Road following heavy rains which left motorists stranded on either side of the road connecting West Pokot and Turkana counties.

Education stakeholders in the Coast region have asked the government to postpone reopening of schools due to the devastation caused by floods.

Schools are reopening for the second term on Monday, but at the Coast region parents and learners are facing a huge crisis following floods in Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River counties that have affected more than 100 learning centres.

The raging floods have swept away homes and farms and learners do not have access to their uniforms and stationery.

Rivers Sabaki and Tana broke their banks leaving a trail of destruction and 159,000 displaced in the three Coast counties.

"We have visited schools and what we have witnessed is a crisis. Let the government postpone reopening of schools for a week or so as we access the situation. Schools in rural areas of Kilifi such as Magarini are worst affected," Mr Evans Nyabwanga, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Kilifi branch secretary said.

TRANSFERS

Speaking to Nation, Mr Nyabwanga said if schools are reopened, learners will not focus as most public learning institutions are hosting displaced families.

"The learners need counselling, they have gone through the worst experience. They have no place to call home. It is a sad situation. We need urgent intervention," he said.

Coast counties drowning in floods

But education directors are assessing the situation ahead of the schools reopening with some considering transferring the learners to other public schools that have not been hit by floods."If the schools will still be marooned, we will have to transfer [students] to the neighbouring schools," Mr Muttai Kithinji, the Magarini sub-County education director told Nation.

FLOODED SCHOOLS

Six primary schools, namely: Bate, Bura, Singwaya, Dhololo, Misindidini, Mikuyuni in Garashi wards were rendered inaccessible after River Sabaki broke its banks last week on Wednesday.

"The schools have been flooded. The affected residents were evacuated to higher grounds and are now camping at Garashi Secondary school where they are receiving relief food," Mr Kithinji said on phone.

But the learners are facing another dilemma after their stationery, uniforms and other crucial amenities were swept away by floods.In Magarini, some six public primary schools have been submerged while in Malindi two public primary schools, an Early Childhood Development Education centre and a secondary school have been submerged."I don't know what will happen to some 3,500 flood victims who have camped at Kakuyuni primary when the schools resume on Monday. Our nightmare is, where do we to take them on Monday when schools resume since they are homeless and there is no other safe place that can accommodate them?" said Kakuyuni MCA Nixon Muramba.

REPORT

Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa, who toured the area together with his Chief Administrative Secretary Hussein Dado, said his education counterpart Amina Mohammed has formed a taskforce to access the flood-hit areas.

In Tana River County, about 34 schools in Tana Delta are submerged, with about 10 mud-walled learning institutions swept away.

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