• Parents urge government to urgently release funds to relocate and reconstruct the schools
• At least 18 schools have been severely flooded or submerged as the water continues to surge
Five thousand Baringo learners were unable to return to school on Monday as crocodiles and hippos occupied flooded school compounds.
They even have entered homes, which are mostly abandoned.
Eighteen schools were flooded or half-submerged as waters of Lakes Baringo, Bogoria and Lake 94 continue to rise.
“The water has covered the entire school compound up to the walls of the classrooms. We stare at deadly crocodiles and hippos," Loruk Primary School head teacher Luka Kandie said on Monday.
“As government, we are always well prepared to tackle emergencies.Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa
Ng’ambo location chief Joseph Lenaseku said thousands of families have been displaced.
“Apart from the water, crocodiles and hippos dominate areas around nearly submerged facilities like schools, dispensaries and churches," Lenasheku told the Star.
He said lake waters rise by three to seven metres daily.
"If nothing is done seriously to address the situation, the majority of learners will miss learning," he said.
He said parents are planning to relocate Luruk Primary School structures to higher grounds but await funding.
“So far we are yet to receive any funding from the Education ministry for emergency reconstruction of the submerged schools," he said.
The uninhabitable schools include Loruk, Sokotei, Ng'ambo, Kiserian, Salabani and Lake Baringo primary and secondary.
Governor Stanley Kiptis says such flooding has never occurred "since time immemorial".
The flooding of Lakes in Rift Valley is linked to unusually long and heavy rains since April, climate change, saturated soil, filled-up aquifers, over-cultivation, siltation and choking mathenge weed.
Earthquakes occur and fissures open.
CROCODILES ENTER HOMES
Residents also fear for their lives as aggressive crocodiles and hippos enter homes. Snakes are also a threat as they seek dryer areas on higher ground.
“The resurgent water is now putting the children and residents' lives at risk as they move closer to homes and facilities," Loruk resident Harun Cheburet said.
He urged the government to intervene urgently, allocate emergency funds for relocation and reconstruction of schools.
Most school have been completely flooded, almost submerged, and others are in danger and cannot be used.
Last month, Rift Valley Regional education director John Ololtuaa said his officers are on the ground collecting data on the schools.
“As a ministry, we shall do everything possible even if it means relocating the children to ensure no single learner misses out," he said.
More than 30,000 people, including children, the elderly and pregnant women have been displaced.
The swollen lakes border Baringo North, Tiaty and Baringo South subcounties.
The victims are now spending nights in the cold and begging for emergency food and supplies, including tents, utensils, clothing, mosquito nets and drugs.
Roads are impassable, crops are ruined, tourist hotels have been flooded .
Ilchamus ward MCA Joseph Ole Parsalach said the water flooded thousands of acres of cropland in the Perkerra, Sintaan, Ng’ambo, Mosuro, Sandai and Kiserian irrigation schemes.
“We are asking the government to consider compensating residents," Parsalach said.
He said frequent earthquakes in and around the lakes also threaten lives.
“There is need for research scientists to tour the area urgently to ascertain the cause of the earthquakes and the scary ground fissures in the Islands," Parsalach said.
Last week Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa visited the area and attributed rising levels to climate change and heavy rains.
He urged residents to swiftly move to higher ground.
He said the government has set aside funds to rehabilitate schools ahead of reopening. “As the government, we are always well prepared to tackle emergencies as they occur,” the CS said.
Rivers Perkerra and El’Molo that feed Lake Baringo also burst their banks and changed their courses, worsening the flooding.
Overgrown Mathenge weed is also choking rivers, worsening the flooding.
(Edited by V. Graham)