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Residents salvage their belongings after heavy rains in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya, on April 24, 2024. /Xinhua

Kenya postpones reopening of schools, identifies high-risk areas in response to flood threat

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Kenyan President William Ruto has directed the Ministry of Education to postpone re-opening schools in the country due to ongoing heavy rains.

Speaking during a State of the Nation address Friday, President Ruto said the school re-opening date should be postponed “until further notice”, noting that the situation will likely escalate in the coming days.

Schools were initially set for re-opening on April 29 but pushed back to May 6 due to disruptions from the heavy rains.

“No corner of our country has been spared from this havoc. The re-opening date of our schools after the April holidays, which was scheduled for Monday this week, had to be varied. Transportation has become challenging in many parts of the country due to flooded and damaged roads and bridges and the threat of raging rivers and overflowing dams in downstream regions,” said Ruto.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior has been directed to coordinate the relocation and evacuation of the affected citizens, identify temporary shelter sites for displaced persons, and supervise overall support programs.

The government has mapped out 178 dams, and water reservoirs on public and private land in 33 counties, which are already full and present imminent danger to adjacent settlements.

Areas prone to landslides and mudslides in various counties have also been identified as high-risk.  Residents in those settlements will be evacuated.

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