Students stranded after ban on use of canoes in Tana Delta

Thursday January 17 2019

Locals crossing River Tana on a canoe.

Locals crossing River Tana on a canoe. More than 500 students are stranded in various villages following the recent ban on the use of canoes in Tana River County. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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More than 500 students are stranded in various villages following the recent ban on the use of canoes in Tana River County.

The students from Tana Delta have not been able to get to school for the last one week due to lack of means to cross the dangerous River Tana.

In a statement to journalists, Tana Delta Sub-County Administrator Said Jarha said the canoe ban was effected as a result of security challenges.

"We appreciate the security challenges that have triggered the canoe ban along the riverine. However, the order has by now had very saviour effects on the communities living on the eastern riverbank in Garsen North," he said.


The administrator said about 400 students set to enrol in Form One in various schools are held up in the villages, with those from Mnazini, Munguvweni, Kinyadu, Choa, and Maramba unable to access Kitere and Minhaj secondary schools which are across the river .

He also said that more than 80 ECDE and primary school pupils living in Chia and Mramba villages are also unable to access Kitere Primary School while 30 others from Gutale village cannot access Baomo Primary School.

As a result, Mr Jarha said, the schools have been left with very few learners while somer students risk losing slots in secondary schools.

"The operation is in disregard of the plight of our children. The more they stay at home, the more their minds will move away from studies. The academic calendar is moving fast," he said.


Mr Jarha urged government to facilitate movement across the river.

He said the ban, however necessary, should consider the desperate situation of the people living along the river.

Reached for comment, County Police Commander Peter Okeri said they have received the information on the plight of the students and are in the process of making transport arrangements for them.

But he said economic activities may not be allowed at the moment, especially in areas marked as hot spots until the situation has been handled satisfactorily.

The ban on canoe movement has had adverse effects on the lives of the people, many of whom face hunger and hard economic times.

Majority of the residents rely on fishing and other forms of farming for survival.