Kenya postpones school reopening by a week due to deadly floods

Kenya postpones school reopening by a week due to deadly floods
Kenya floods. PHOTO/COURTESY

Summary:

  • Kenya delays school reopening by one week due to deadly floods caused by heavy rains. Over 130,000 people displaced, with 76 fatalities since March. Regional impact includes Tanzania, Burundi, and Uganda, amidst recovery from severe drought.

Kenya announced on Monday a one-week delay in the reopening of schools due to persistent heavy rains causing deadly floods across the nation. Originally slated to resume on Monday following mid-term breaks, the reopening has been postponed as torrential downpours continue to disrupt educational facilities.

Education Minister Ezekiel Machogu emphasized the severity of the situation, stating, “The devastating effects of the rains in some schools are so severe that risking the lives of learners and staff would be imprudent before adequate safety measures are in place.” Consequently, the Ministry of Education has decided to push back the reopening of all primary and secondary schools by one week, now set for Monday, May 6, 2024.

Since March, Kenya has witnessed 76 fatalities attributed to heavier-than-usual rains exacerbated by the El Niño weather phenomenon affecting East Africa. Flash floods have inundated roads and neighborhoods, displacing over 130,000 individuals across 24,000 households, with a significant impact observed in Nairobi, where 64 public schools—nearly a third of the total—are severely affected by flooding.

Tragedy struck in eastern Kenya on Sunday as a boat, carrying a substantial number of passengers, capsized in flooded Tana River county. The Kenya Red Cross reported the rescue of 23 individuals, while harrowing video footage depicted the chaotic scene of the sinking vessel.

Beyond Kenya’s borders, neighboring Tanzania has also endured significant havoc, with at least 155 fatalities due to flooding and landslides. In Burundi, approximately 96,000 people have been displaced by relentless rains, underscoring the broader regional impact. Uganda, too, has grappled with heavy storms, resulting in fatalities and the displacement of hundreds of villagers.

These weather-related disasters come amid recovery efforts from the region’s worst drought in four decades, highlighting the cyclical nature of climate patterns. El Niño, characterized by heightened global temperatures, leads to drought in some areas and increased rainfall in others, illustrating the interconnectedness of weather phenomena across the globe.

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