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Charity: Over 15,000 Kenyan children may not resume learning due to flooding

FILE PHOTO: Aerial photo shows a flood affected area in the Mathare slums in Nairobi, Kenya.

NAIROBI, Kenya | Xinhua | More than 15,000 children in Kenya will be unable to return to school next week due to heavy rains and floods that have submerged or destroyed at least 62 primary schools across the country, a global charity said on Friday.

Save the Children said the informal settlements in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi have been particularly hard hit, with families losing their homes and livelihoods. According to the charity, more than 7,000 people have been displaced by the heavy rains and flooding in the Mathare slums alone.

“The impact of the floods on children is disastrous and threatens their rights. As a child rights organization, we recognize the importance of coordination of efforts to ensure that children’s lives and those of their families are restored to normalcy,” Mohamed Abdiladif, Save the Children’s acting country director for Kenya and Madagascar, said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

A report released this week by Kenya’s Ministry of Education showed the extent of damage to schools — as well as health facilities and homes — from the raging floods that have killed more than 160 people and displaced over 250,000 since mid-March.

The reopening of schools has been postponed twice to ensure the safety of children. More than 40 cases of cholera have been reported along the Tana River, and there are fears that this number could rise as children return to school.

The heavy rains were exacerbated by the El Nino weather pattern, a naturally occurring climate phenomenon typically associated with increased global heat, leading to drought in some parts of the world and heavy rainfall elsewhere. “This climate disaster has also affected children and families who are yet to recover from the impacts of drought,” the charity said.

Save the Children called for the response to the climate crisis, including climate finance, to be child-responsive so that children’s rights — such as the right to learning — are factored into decision-making about their future. ■

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