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9 May 2024 - News


Waterlogged and damaged school infrastructure in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Photo Courtesy| Dorothy Waweru, Save the Children

Nairobi9th May 2024 - At least 62 primary schools across Kenya are either completely marooned or destroyed by the heavy rains and floods which are sweeping across the country, leaving over 15,000 learners without a place to learn as schools re-open next week.  

Ministry of Education reports indicate at least 62 primary schools with an enrolment of over 15,000 learners, are not ready to open as their classrooms have been submerged, swept away, or sustained severe damage.

School reopening has been postponed twice to ensure children's safety amidst the raging floods that have killed more than 250 people and displaced over 250,000. The storms have caused destruction and damage to key infrastructure, including schools, health facilities, and homes.

Thirty-four cases of cholera have since been reported in Tana River and there are fears that this toll could rise as children resume school. The assessment also indicates that over 20,000 toilet blocks are either sunken or severely damaged by raging floodwaters posing serious health risks to over 1.5 mililion learners across the country.

Nairobi’s informal settlements have been particularly hit, with families losing their homes and livelihood.

For instance, Mathare slum has recorded over 7,000 people being displaced because of the heavy rains and flooding.

Children’s psychosocial wellbeing has also been acutely affected by the loss of family, friends, play areas and familiar environment.  Further, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, child labor are bound to rise due to the weakening of protective environments.

The rains have been amplified by the El Nino weather pattern — a naturally occurring climate phenomenon typically associated with increased heat worldwide, leading to drought in some parts of the world and heavy downpours elsewhere. This climate disaster has also affected children and families who are yet to recover from the impacts of drought.

“The impact of the floods on children is disastrous and threatens their rights. As a child rights organisation, we recognise the importance of coordination of efforts to ensure that children’s lives and those of their families are restored to normalcy. We are working round the clock to deliver lifesaving interventions such as cash transfers to affected households in Nairobi and Garissa Counties and are calling for support from private sector, development partners and well-wishers to scale up our response.  We also advise parents and caregivers to exercise caution as schools re-open,” Mohamed Abdiladif, Acting Country Director, Save the Children Kenya

Save the Children is calling on all stakeholders to strengthen coordination and act swiftly to help children and families affected by the crisis.  

We are complementing government and other stakeholder efforts by providing cash transfers, distributing hygiene kits, household kits and water treatment kits. The organisation is also providing education kits to support the back to school agenda. Jointly with the Directorate of Children Services and other partners we will keep monitoring the situation while providing the much-needed protection services including training communities to share any protection concerns through a Save the Children SMS alert number 25855, child help line toll free number 116 and Gender-Based Violence free hotline 1195.

We call on all stakeholders to join efforts with the Government to: 

  • Fast track re-construction of school infrastructure including water and sanitation facilities in schools.
  • Provide emergency age-appropriate/inclusive teaching and learning supplies (school kits, early childhood education (ECD) kits, recreational kits, disability kits etc.) 
  • Conduct rapid needs assessment on the impact of floods on health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, livelihoods, and protection sectors.
  • Provide psychosocial support to affected communities and children.
  • Promote safe hygiene behaviors and practices to minimize the spread of waterborne and vector borne diseases.
  • Support distribution of mosquito nets to reduce the spread of malaria.
  • Promote screening and treatment of malnutrition in children.


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