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3,000 Miss School As Parents Cross Border
Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 09, 2006 (East African Standard) – At least 3,000 pupils failed to report back to school in Mandera District on Monday after reportedly crossing into Ethiopia and Somalia with their parents as the drought rages.
The pupils are mostly from schools in Central and West constituencies.
Speaking at his office, Yusuf Maalim Hassan, the Mandera Kenya National Union of Teachers branch secretary, said more pupils could drop out of school if the drought persists.
"Most pupils will be forced to discontinue their classes as most pastoralist families continue to move with their stock out of the district," the Knut official said.
Hassan said the most affected pupils were girls. He appealed to the Government to provide food and water to students in schools in Banisa, Takaba, Dandu, Gither and Markamari divisions of West Constituency.
This, he said, would help in maintaining children in classes without interfering with day schools. He said recent inter-clan fighting and drought led to the decline in the area's performance in national examinations.
Hassan said some teachers may also fail to report to work unless the Government ensures there was enough food and water.
Meanwhile, more than 23,000 people and 30,000 livestock are faced with starvation in Bomet District.
The dry spell has affected mostly the lower parts of the district, where the risk of starvation is high.
But 60,000 animals in the upper areas of the district, which is highly productive, are so far unaffected. About 2,566 bags of maize, 2,022 bags of beans and 11,500kg of cooking oil are urgently needed for the area.
Outgoing District Commissioner, Joseph Otieno, said if the drought continues, the number of those affected could rise to 45,000 by July.
Should that happen, the district would require 5,000 bags of maize and 2,000 bags of beans, Otieno said. He said among the most affected were 3,000 families evicted from the Mau forest last year that moved into Bomet district.
A report by the livestock department released on Monday shows that although no livestock deaths had been reported, the situation was worsening by the day.
Acting district livestock production officer Erick Ngetich said farmers were driving their animals to the forests for pasture