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EC Education Dept urges schools to prioritise learner safety amid floods

Earlier this week, an 11-year-old girl drowned after heavy currents swept her off a makeshift bridge she had crossed in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

Port St Johns after flooding hit after heavy rain in the area on 22 April 2019. Picture: @BantuHolomisa/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Eastern Cape Education Department said that learner safety remains a top priority, urging schools in affected areas to decide for itself whether to let learners come to school under these circumstances.

Earlier this week, an 11-year-old girl drowned after heavy currents swept her off a makeshift bridge she had crossed in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality.

Two schoolboys also drowned in Flagstaff after they left home to go for a swim in a dam.

They, however, drowned due to the strong water current and their bodies were recovered by police divers.

“District SMTs and school governing bodies must make a decision based on the weather in their area. If they know that there are bridges that are flooded, they must make a decision to say children must come to school or not. We did this because our intention was to ensure that the safety of the learners is guaranteed,” said department spokesperson Mali Mtima.

At least six lives were claimed in the province as a result of the bad weather conditions.

At the same time, serious flooding prompted the South African Air Force to dispatch helicopters to assist with rescue operations in Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape.

The Alfred Nzo District Municipality on Wednesday urged residents in low-lying areas to monitor water levels and to move to higher ground if necessary.

The municipality’s Lubabalo Majenge said disaster teams were assessing the extent of the damage.

He said that in some parts of the municipality river water was flowing over bridges.

KZN FLOODS

The KwaZulu-Natal government confirmed on Thursday that the death toll resulting from recent floods was 70.

The province has been severely affected by the heavy rains that started during the Easter weekend, leaving many missing and about 1,000 people displaced in Durban.

Port Shepstone, the Ilembe, and King Cetshwayo district municipalities have also been affected by the deadly floods.

Humanitarian aid has started pouring in, with Gift of the Givers continuing with distributions on Thursday.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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