At least 18,000 schools have been damaged or destroyed by South Asia’s worst flooding in years, which is putting children’s education and long-term well-being at risk, warns Save the Children in a report on Aug 31.
Save the Children expresses its concern that apart from schools being damaged or destroyed they are also used as evacuation centres and about 1.8 million children cannot go to class as flooding continues to ravage large swathes of Bangladesh, Nepal and India’s northeast.
Save the Children is warning that hundreds of thousands of children could fall permanently out of the school system if education isn’t prioritised in relief efforts.
Rafay Hussain, Save the Children’s General Manager in India’s Bihar state said, that the importance of education is often under-valued in humanitarian crises. If children are out of school for a longer period, he adds, that it is less likely that they’ll ever return. That’s why it’s so important that education is properly funded in this response, to get children back to the classroom as soon as it’s safe to do so and to safeguard their futures he observed.
The regional death toll now stands at over 1,200 with more than 40 million people affected. It has had a huge impact on education institutions right across the region with more than 12,000 schools damaged or destroyed in India, 2,000 in Nepal and 4,000 in Bangladesh. In some areas school has been suspended for several weeks, while in others schools remain open, however there is a lack of teaching staff and learning materials and attendance is low because students are trying to survive the floods with their families.
Save the Children is helping the education system recover in all three flood affected countries. The aid agency has set up temporary learning spaces so classes can resume immediately, distributed back to school kits with basic learning materials and is providing psychosocial support to students affected by the floods.
Save the Children is also distributing tarpaulins for temporary shelter, running special playgroups for children to help them recover and distributing relief items including hygiene kits, kitchen kits and cash for basic necessities like food and clean drinking water.