Homes destroyed by heavy flooding on the banks of the Nairobi River in Kenya

Heavy flooding has damaged schools and displaced thousands in Kenya. Save the Children is providing cash transfers and distributing hygiene kits, household kits and water treatment kits to affected families. As well as providing education kits to support the back-to-school efforts.

Kenya Floods: Damaged Schools Mean Over 15,000 Children will be Unable to Return to Learning Next Week

NAIROBI, (May 10, 2024) —Heavy rains and floods have submerged or destroyed at least 62 primary schools in Kenya, leaving more than 15,000 children with nowhere to learn when schools reopen next week and raising the risk of waterborne diseases, Save the Children said.

A report released by the Ministry of Education this week has shown the extent of damage caused to schools – as well as health facilities and homes – by raging floods that have killed more than 250 people and displaced over 250,000 people since mid-March. School reopening had already been postponed twice to ensure children's safety.

Nairobi's informal settlements have been particularly badly hit, with families losing their homes and livelihoods. More than 7,000 people have been displaced in Mathare slums alone by the heavy rains and flooding.

So far, about 34 cases of cholera have been reported along the Tana River, and there are fears this number could rise as children resume school. The assessment also indicated that over 20,000 toilet blocks are either sunken or severely damaged by raging floodwaters, posing serious health risks to over 1.5 million school children across the country.

Children's psychosocial wellbeing has also been acutely affected by the loss of family, friends, play areas and familiar environments and increased the risk of child labor, teenage pregnancies, and early marriages.

The rains have been amplified by the El Niño weather pattern—a naturally occurring climate phenomenon typically associated with increased heat worldwide. This phenomenon has led 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.

Save the Children's Acting Country Director for Kenya and Madagascar, Mohamed Abdiladif, said:

"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. 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 the private sector, development partners and well-wishers to scale up our response. We also advise parents and caregivers to exercise caution as schools reopen."

Save the Children is calling for coordinated action to help children and families affected by the crisis swiftly.

A recent analysis by Save the Children found that around one-in-two out-of-school children and adolescents live at the forefront of the climate crisis. Last month's calculations found that 62 million children and adolescents in 27 countries have had their education disrupted by climate shocks since 2020, resulting in significant long-term impacts on learning, both from school closures and from increased heatwaves.

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

The aid agency is providing cash transfers and distributing hygiene kits, household kits and water treatment kits to affected families. We are also providing education kits to support the back-to-school efforts. Jointly with the Directorate of Children Services and other partners we will keep monitoring the situation while providing protection services for children including a Save the Children short message alert number, child help line toll free number and gender-based violence free hotline.

At COP28, Save the Children, the Green Climate Fund and the Global Partnership for Education launched the world's largest investment for green schools in order to address the growing threat of climate events on education. 

Save the Children has worked in Kenya since 1950 and in 2023 reached 784,617 people including 459,033 children.


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