Uganda: Rainstorm Destroys 8 Schools, 54 Classrooms

ALEBTONG/KOLE- At least 5,000 pupils in Alebtong District are studying under trees after a hailstorm destroyed their classrooms last week.

School authorities and district leaders confirmed that a downpour, accompanied by strong winds, blew off rooftops of 54 classrooms in eight government-aided primary schools in Abia and Abako sub-counties.

The affected schools are Abako, Abia, Agurudeng, Amononeno, Owalo, Arwot, Oyengolwedo and Obo.

Mr Alfred Opio Omara, the head teacher of Amononeno Primary School, on Tuesday said the disaster has left five of their classrooms without rooftops.

"We cannot afford the cost of fixing and renovating the classrooms because it is beyond our means," he said, adding that the destruction has mainly affected Primary Three, Four and Five pupils.

"As a result, most of our pupils have started absconding from school for fear of learning under trees," Mr Opio said.

He urged parents to continue sending children to school as they wait for government intervention.

Mr Opio said the school normally sends back home Primary One and Two pupils whenever there is any sign of rain while Primary Four, Five and Six pupils study from are one class. Mr Denis Kissa, the district education officer, said the Office of the Prime Minister had not intervened since they were informed last week.

"We may be forced to use the school facilitation grants or district discretionary equalisation Grants to renovate the affected classrooms and yet these funds will not be enough," he said.

Mr Denis Johnson Okello, the Alebtong District chairperson, said the disaster would heavily interrupt studies.

Aboke High closed

In a related development, a downpour on Monday destroyed four dormitories and seven staff houses at Aboke High School, Aboke Sub-county in Kole District, leaving 11 students with severe injuries.

The injured students were taken to Aboke Health Centre IV where they are receiving treatment.

Following the disaster, Mr Joel Okello, the head teacher, said the school was temporarily closed on Tuesday.

"We have sent back the students until we get resources for putting back the structures," he said yesterday.

A Senior One student at Aboke High School, Susan Ayo, said: "When it started raining heavily, strong winds blew off the rooftop of our dormitories. We ran to the matron's home but, the hailstorm pulled down the house."

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