Drought forces children out of school into streets

MARIA MACHARIA
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – MORE than 174 000 children, over 14 percent of the school-aged population, have dropped out of school because of the worst drought Kenya has suffered in years.
This has coincided with a marked rise in the number of street children in the East African country’s urban areas.
According to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), from January to date, affected children are not attending early child development and primary schools due to drought impact, mainly lack of food and water.
Four schools have closed as a direct result of drought in two counties. Some 1 274 schools have no access to water in ten counties, affecting 246 000 children.
Schools in both Dadaab, which hosts thousands of refugees, and host communities are currently experiencing lack of water and food, creating an alarming situation which might undermine the efforts to increase enrolment in most of schools.
More than 50 per cent of refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab are under 18 years, many of whom have experienced violent conflict and displacement, and 48 percent of whom are out of school.
Meanwhile, Unicef noted an increase in the numbers of children on the streets, forced out of home and school by drought.
In Lodwar town, approximately 500 children, a third of them girls, are on the streets at night due to effects of drought, compared to about 60 in March 2016.
In Kenya, about 2,7 million people in need of relief assistance, up from 1,3 million in August 2016.
President Uhuru Kenyatta declared a national disaster on February 10.
CAJ News

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