Flooding in central Tanzanian regions earlier this month prevented schools from opening as usual in mid-January.
An estimated 33,000 people around the country have been affected, and thousands are living in school buildings after their homes were destroyed. In the central Kilosa district, for example, soldiers built temporary accommodation for 9,000 people taking refuge in classrooms. The BBC reported that 125 people, including children and seniors, were staying in difficult conditions in Lwamulilo primary school.
“Sadly we have reports of pupils who have died. For example in the Kilimanjaro region at least nine pupils of one primary school, with the rest of their families, were swept away and covered with earth. They were asleep when heavy rains with floods caused a land slide,” said Anthony Mtavangu, a member of EI affiliate Tanzania Teachers’ Union (TTU).
“We are still collecting more information through our union structure, and the army is there working hard to erect buildings and tents to provide accommodation for people and bring back pupils and teachers to schools,” added Mtavangu, who also serves as national EI EFAIDS Project Coordinator.
In some regions students cannot attend classes because roads and railways have been heavily hit.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, that the money needed to rebuild the country's infrastructure would be raised through the re-allocation of government funds. “This means many of our development plans will have to be postponed or foregone to enable us respond to emergencies.”
EI wishes to express its sympathy to the Tanzanian people who have lost family members or been displaced and urges the authorities to allocate funds to the reconstruction of schools as soon as possible.