School closed as El Niño disrupts learning
Over 1500 pupils of St. Elizabeth Primary School in Industrial Area (Lunga Lunga Rd) were sent home on Thursday morning following flooding of the school at the onset of the El Niño rains.
The pupils who were set to start the end of term exams on Friday could not access the school which had been submerged in water.
The administration of the public institution, run by the Catholic Church, blamed the flooding on dumping of soil on the bank of Mutu-ini Ngong River.
“We had to close down the school to avoid incidents of pupils drowning. Our fear is what will happen to standard eight pupils who are about to start the Kenya Certificate of Primary School (KCPE) examination,” Mary Killen, one of the sponsors’ of the school said in a telephone interview.
The Deputy Head teacher Ms Alice Obamba said the dumping of soil had been done by the Nairobi City County employees in an effort to reclaim Mukuru Kwa Njenga slum which has in the past been prone to flooding.
According to Ms Obamba, the exercise has left the school on a lower ground as compared to the reclaimed land hence the flooding of the institution.
“The reclaiming of the slum is what has led to the blocking of Mutu-ini Ngong River which has as result flooded the school,”said Ms Obamba.
She added that the County government has built a perimeter wall that had also blocked the flow of the river.
The school Chairman Charles Musyoka said that the management has been anticipating the disaster as the school’s wall is adjacent to the river bank.
According to Mr Musyoka, the school has in the past written letters to City Hall and National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) to complain about the dumping.
A parent, Caroline Aluoch, called upon the County government to use money set aside for El Niño management to contain flooding in the school.
City Hall has set aside a Sh50 million emergency recovery fund for clearing and unblocking of clogged drainage channels and re-construction of roads.
Several other parts of the city, including the Central Business District (CBD), also experienced floods following a heavy downpour on Wednesday evening.
The busy Jogoo Road experienced a heavy traffic jam on Thursday morning as the rains left part of the highway flooded.
Within the CBD, employees of Nairobi City County had a difficult time trying to unclog the drainage to allow free flow of water. Weather experts have predicted that the rains will continue until December.