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Busia schools to wait longer to reopen as floods ravage county

Even after the government postponed the reopening of schools for the second term by a week, a number of learning institutions in Busia County will have to wait longer before classes resume.

The schools have been submerged by floods from the Nzoia River and Lake Victoria, making them inaccessible.

The marooned institutions are Namabusi and Budalang’i secondary schools and Musoma, Buluani, Maduwa, Runyu, Makunda, Rugunga, Rwambua and Iranya primary schools.

At Sikinga Primary School in Nambale, 10 classroom roofs were blown off by strong winds, leaving only four in good condition.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu last Sunday extended school holidays by a week due to heavy rains and flooding across the country.

While the Nzoia River has burst its banks, Lake Victoria is experiencing a backflow of water that has flooded nearby homes, markets and learning institutions in the region.

Parents in Busia County are worried that learners, especially those in the lower grades, could be swept away by the raging waters.

Mr Peter Ouma, whose home in Mabinju village was rendered uninhabitable, said they feared losing more of their property if the torrential rains continued.

 “Even if the rest of the schools open on Monday, our children will have nowhere to go because the facilities in this area are in bad shape,” he said.

The markets of Maumau, Mang’ong’o and Mudembi remained closed after floodwaters flooded all the buildings in the area.

 More than 1700 families have been displaced in Bunyala sub-County.

Budalang’i MP Raphael Wanjala has joined other opposition leaders in putting pressure on President William Ruto to declare the current floods a national disaster and deploy the military to the affected areas for rescue and humanitarian assistance.

Mr Wanjala said the deaths reported across the country and the scale of the flooding warranted urgent intervention by government and non-government agencies led by the military, the National Youth Service and the Kenya Red Cross.

Mr Wanjala said his constituency was in dire need of assistance after floods affected the whole of Bunyala South, parts of Bunyala West and Bunyala North.

 “We want the government to urgently deploy the military to the area to construct an extension of the Nzoia River dyke, which will help control flooding in the area. The whole of Bunyala South Ward is submerged. Maumau, the main market, is now inaccessible, Mabinju Bridge is impassable, shops and homesteads have been destroyed. We need urgent intervention to bring life back to Bunyala,” said Mr Wanjala.

 The MP also wants the Busia County government to purchase water master machines to open up small rivers for the smooth flow of water in the region.

 He said the affected schools should not be opened as this would expose learners to the dangers of water-borne diseases.

 “The government should find a way to ensure that all displaced children have access to education from wherever they are. Some have lost books and other school equipment that need to be provided before schools open,” he noted.

 He urged Kenya Red Cross officials to ensure that the relief materials donated by various stakeholders are distributed to all victims without bias.

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