Floods lock out 6,000 pupils from school

Tuesday May 7 2013

PHOTO | GIDEON MAUNDU Houses rendered uninhabitable by floods at Bamburi’s Stage ya Paka in Mombasa County. Hundreds of people have moved to nearby schools for safety.

PHOTO | GIDEON MAUNDU Houses rendered uninhabitable by floods at Bamburi’s Stage ya Paka in Mombasa County. Hundreds of people have moved to nearby schools for safety. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

More than 6,000 pupils have not reported to school for the second term after 25 institutions in Tana River and Nyanza were marooned by floods.

Fifteen schools in Tana River County were inaccessible after roads were cut off and bridges swept away, area assistant education director Frederick Njuga said.

“In the Wema area there are eight marooned schools. The roads and bridges have been washed away. We cannot even attempt to go there for assessment,” he said by telephone from Garsen on Tuesday.

He said Gamba Primary School on the Garsen-Lamu road could not be opened as it acts as a camp for thousands of homeless families.

Some of the marooned schools did not open between August last year and January this year following bloody clashes in the area pitting the Orma and Pokomo communities in which 187 people were killed.

Thousands of flood victims were evacuated from flooded villages in the area using boats on Tuesday.

According to Garsen Central Ward representative Masha Boru and his Garsen West counterpart Mahmoud Gabo, the residents were evacuated after their villages were submerged in water.

“Our people are stranded. They are homeless and in the cold. We need urgent help from the Red Cross, Ministry of Special Programmes and other well-wishers,” said Mr Gabo.

He said the threat of disease outbreak was real with children suffering from severe coughs, diarrhoea and malaria.

Mr Boru called on Good Samaritans to provide the victims with humanitarian aid. “We are angry that the government has not helped us since the floods overwhelmed us three weeks ago,” stated Mr Boru.

Deputy Governor Jire Siyat Mohamed said the county government had formed a special department to deal with the problem.

“This department will also deal with cohesion following the bloody clashes, disasters and other calamities,” he said.

In Nyanza, about 10 schools did not open because they are being used as evacuation centres for flood victims.

At Rae Primary School displaced families were concerned that the situation would affect their children’s education this year.

Mr Walter Odhiambo, a father of four said two of his children in the lower classes refused to go to school for fear of being swept away by floods.

“We are on high alert. In case it rains tomorrow, we shall not release even the ones in the upper classes,” said Mr Odhiambo.

The western region assistant secretary of the Red Cross, Mr Emmanuel Owako said several schools in Kisumu, Homa Bay and Migori counties were still holding a good number of families.

In Nakuru, a woman was killed by floods while trying to cross Akuisi river in lower Solai on Monday.

Counting losses

The 22-year-old victim only identified as Wanjiku succumbed to injuries while being taken to hospital.

On Tuesday local leaders and residents were counting losses after the road network was cut off by floods following three days of heavy rains.

A spot check in the affected areas indicated that the Bahati-Subukia Road was impassable after a bridge at Kona Mbaya was destroyed by raging waters of Ruiru river.

“The government needs to construct durable bridges on the Bahati-Subukia road,” said Solai member of County Assembly Paul Chebor.

Solai chief Simon Murage said more than 1,700 pupils had not reported to Jamhuri Primary School after it was cut off by floods.

In Budalang’i constituency, 35 families have been displaced after the lower parts of the rehabilitated Bunyala dykes were flooded.

Area assistant chief Rosemary Ochieno said the problem was caused by back-flow of water from River Nzoia to the dykes, submerging crops and houses.

Reported by Angela Oketch, Linet Wafula, and Daniel Nyassy