The Kenyan school term is set to commence on 7 January, but flash floods and landslides could disrupt education for as many as 2,500 pupils. Many schools in affected regions have been damaged or are being used as makeshift shelters for those displaced, education officials say.
“In many of the areas where flooding occurred, families are living in school compounds, and yet schools will open in just a few days. We fear, and rightly so, that this might affect learning in the affected areas,” George Godia, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, told IRIN.
In Nyando District, 400 people were displaced after River Nyando burst its banks and inundated homes. Displaced people are now sheltering in Magina and Apondo primary schools, which together have 1,000 pupils.
In the districts of Elgeyo and Marakwet, landslides left 13 dead and affected 500 families. There are now fears that some 13 damaged schools, with over 1,000 students cumulatively, might not reopen.
“We will look for means and ways of helping those children who might have lost their school property due to the floods,” Godia said.
The Meteorological Department says heavy rains could continue until the end of January. It has appealed to those living in flood- and landslide-prone areas to move to safer ground.