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Elephants Disrupt Learning in Taita

Elephants have disrupted several schools in Taita Taveta County after elephants invaded villages in the evenings and mornings in search of food and water amid the ongoing drought.

According to the Wundanyi Sub-County Director of Education Justus Jilo, most of the schools in the areas of Paranga, Kishushe and Nyache have suspended their morning and evening programmes in a bid to avoid exposing learners to the danger of a confrontation with the elephants.

“Most schools especially the senior classes start their learning programmes between 6:30 am and 6:45 am and end at around 5:00 pm. However, this is no longer possible because this is the time elephants stray to villages to feed. During the day when the sun is scorching they prefer resting under shades,” said Jilo.

The Kenya Red Cross Society has also issued a warning that the number of people affected by famine and in dire of food aid in the Coast Region will continue growing if the ongoing drought situation continues.

According to authorities, the situation has been exacerbated by multiple conflicts as farmers, pastoralists and wildlife scramble for the quickly diminishing food and water resources.

The Kenya Road Cross Society’s Coastal Regional Manager Hassan Musa said that a total of 678,728 residents in the region are starving at the moment.

According to Musa, Kwale County has the highest number of people affected with 198,349 followed closely by Taita Taveta with 150,000, Kilifi with 145,379, Tana River had 150,000 and Lamu had the least with 80,000 affected persons.

“Acute water shortage coupled with extensive crop failure has led to severe malnutrition, especially for children below the age of five years. At the moment, I am in Taveta where wild animals have invaded farms,” said the Manager.

Musa also revealed that around 3,000 livestock in Kwale County are almost drying and revealed that the situation is only worsening.

The Taita Taveta County Commissioner Loyford Kibaara said that the government and other agencies started distributing relief food in Wundanyi Sub-County to cushion the area residents.

“More than 400 bags of rice and 200 bags of beans have been distributed. 11 affected schools have been factored in the programme to ensure that learners stay in school,” said Kibaara..

MP Danson Mwashako revealed that drought and hunger had ravaged communities in the area to such a devastating state with most of those affected being school-going children.

“I am grateful that some of my friends including corporates supported my call to donate food. Among them is the Kenya Ports Authority which provided food worth Kshs. 300,000. Together with other partners, we donated food worth Kshs. 2.8 Million to primary schools and selected secondary schools in my Constituency,” said Mwashako.

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