By The COAST Reporter
Several schools in Tana River county face untimely closure due to the prolonged dry spell of drought currently hitting the area and other parts of the country.
Education officials from the area are saying about six primary schools in remote parts of the county are set to be closed down over lack of water and food as drought deepens.
Several students have been moved from dry areas of the region to boarding schools where they can access the basic commodities while large number of them have so far dropped out of school as families relocate to look for better livelihoods, pasture and water for their vulnerable livestock in the wake of the biting drought.
Schools that have been affected included chifiri, Haroresa, Wayu, Gururi and several ECD classes in Bangale sub county.
Area local chief Mr. Idriss Guyo said a large number of schools had reported huge absence of learners since the third term began with most students likely not to report.
“Lack of rain in the recent past has presented a huge problem because students have dropped out of schools with many parents moving to Bura and Hola since the previous week but i informed the parents in various public barazas that children should be in school” chief Guyo said
County Director of education Khalif Hassan while talking to The COAST Media confirmed that the situation was unbearable as most parents in pastoral areas have migrated leaving their school kids at home without anything to sustain them as they search for water.
Mr. Khalif said though the county government has made some intervention in trekking water the affected areas are still facing serious challenges regarding the same.
‘The county is mounting an emergency plan to have to keep the affected children at a boarding facility in Bura and Hola township to proceed with their studies.
He has appealed for the intervention of None governmental organizations to cheap in to provide food and water to all that are affected by the drought so as to avert further sufferings.
Areas that are in dire need of water and food included Assa, Kone in Garsen constituency, chifiri, Wayu Gururi in Galole constituency in Bangale sub county several primary schools in the county.
Residents also claim the drought has led to escalation of food prices contributing to the high rate of school dropout and child labor.
Kenya National chamber of commerce and industry Tana Branch vice chairman Mr. Shehe Bonaya said the increase of food and fuel prices have aggravated the situation appealing to the government and other humanitarian agencies to intervene before the matter gets out of control.
The Ministry of Agriculture initiated SIVAP involving construction of three pans in Mkomani, Nkozi and Mpongwe villages to reduce poverty by enhancing agricultural productivity, income and food security.
“These will go a long way in checking the movements of nomadic parents and their children and the learners will be able to stay in school, post better results in their national exams,” Josephat Omari, the SIVAP project manager said.
According to the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), more than 92,000 people are in dire need of food aid in Tana River county.