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31 May 2024 - News


Books destroyed by the floods lying in one of the flood affected schools in Nairobi City County. Photo Courtesy|Gideon Sigilai, Save the Children
NAIROBI 31st May 2024 – Three weeks after schools re-opening in Kenya, a staggering 497,783 learners remain at home or in temporary shelters unable to resume their studies.
Assessments done jointly by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Save the Children and UNICEF reveal that over 3,781 classrooms and 18,615 toilets are flooded making them unusable for learners. Some roads to schools in areas like Garissa County are cut off, worsening the situation. The floods also washed away property and businesses, leaving parents unable to pay school fees.
Re-opening of schools had been postponed for the second time through the President’s directive to the Ministry of Education, following heavy floods that left a trail of destruction. The damage to classrooms,
toilets, and playgrounds in some schools within the country remains glaring to date. Waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera in children are on the rise. Ministry of Health reports have indicated that 49% of the reported cholera cases have been children between one and 10 years. This is after sewer lines in parts of the country burst leading to faecal matter finding its way into classrooms, playgrounds, and homes.
Further, learners who have been able to return to school have found damaged books, classrooms, and toilets, and their mental health remains a major concern.
“Ever since our house was affected by the floods, we are having trouble sleeping well. Children are scared and they start crying whenever it starts raining. The teachers tell me that even in school, they get scared when it
starts raining and they won't calm down until the rains stop,” Jackson*, Parent in Nairobi’s informal settlement.
Some of the flood-affected families are still living in temporary shelters awaiting relocation and resettlement to safer grounds. Children in these camps face serious protection concerns such as Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), loss of walking aids and wheelchairs for children with disability, lack of clean water for cooking and drinking, and psychosocial stress and trauma.
“The cost of inaction of climate-induced shocks is far too great. We call on the government to allow for the unconditional enrollment of displaced children to nearby accessible schools. Further, we are urging urgent public health measures to reduce risks of waterborne diseases in schools whose sanitation facilities are damaged. All children have a right to a quality, safe, and inclusive education,” Mohamed Abdiladif, Interim Country Director, Save the Children Kenya & Madagascar.
Save the Children is supporting government efforts by:
• Training county education officials on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in schools.
• In partnership with local partners, providing mental health and psychosocial support to children affected by the crisis.
• Support Ministry of Health effort to ensure children have access to safe water by providing water treatment chemicals.
• Distributing 1,250 education kits, school bags, and 23,970 hygiene and dignity kits.
• Supplying water tanks to schools.
• Providing unconditional cash transfers to 880 households
• Hygiene promotion within schools.
We commend the government for the initiatives taken to ensure the continuity of education during this challenging time. However, more action is needed to guarantee that all children can return to school and learn in a safe environment. We call on partners and other stakeholders to support immediate recovery interventions by:
• Supporting relevant line ministries to conduct rapid assessments to inform recovery efforts.
• Repairing classrooms, dormitories, and toilets.
• Providing alternative learning spaces.
• Promoting health and hygiene sessions within schools and communities.
Additionally, it is crucial to:
• Strengthen disaster risk preparedness in schools and communities.
• Enhance anticipatory action and preparedness for climate-related shocks.
Save the Children will hold a Press Conference on Friday, 31st May 2024 from Noon to 1:00 PM with Inger Ashing, Save the Children International CEO, following her visit to Somalia and Kenya where she met families and children affected by devastating floods in the two countries. We will be releasing our analysis on the impacts of floods in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as well as rallying government, development partners, and stakeholders to find ways to increase funding for climate policies and actions that protect children’s rights considering the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn Intersessional next week.
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