Kenya postpones start of school term due to heavy floods

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 1:37 AM

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s education ministry on Monday postponed the start of a new school term by one week due to heavy rains and flooding which have killed at least 76 people since last month.

The floods have also displaced more than 131,000 people, and 19 others are missing, according to government figures. Dozens have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by heavy rains in other East African countries, including Tanzania and Burundi.

“The devastating effects of the rains in some of the schools is so severe that it will be imprudent to risk the lives of learners and staff before water-tight measures are put in place to ensure adequate safety of all affected school communities,” the education ministry said in a statement.

The floods have destroyed roads and bridges across the country. A road underpass at the international airport in the capital Nairobi was flooded, but flights were running as usual, the Kenya Airports Authority said on Sunday.

Hydroelectric dams are filled to capacity, which could lead to massive downstream overflow, a government spokesperson said.

East Africa was hit by record floods during the last rainy season in late 2023. Scientists say climate change is causing more intense and frequent extreme weather events.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Aaron Ross and Ed Osmond)