EC Education suspends school in flood-hit areas

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The Eastern Cape Education Department has urged School Governing Bodies and principals to suspend academic activities in areas that are affected by heavy rains until weather patterns change for the better.

This comes as heavy rains and flooding continue to ravage the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal.

At least 32 people have died in the flooding in KZN.

The weather is expected to start clearing from Wednesday.

The Eastern Cape Education Department says they want to ensure that learners and teachers don’t cross flooded rivers.

Education Spokesperson Loyiso Pulumani says this step has been taken in the best interests of the learners and teachers.

“For those schools that may have been adversely affected by the heavy downfalls that we have been experiencing over the past few days – the same weather conditions may continue for the rest of the week – the caution is to the effect that they must make sure that learners are not exposed to undue harm. We are still mourning the passing of six learners. It is imperative that our School Governing Bodies exercise extreme caution in an event where learners have to cross rivers. They make sure that learners are kept at home and are kept safe.”

The National Defence Force (SANDF) says it has sent a rescue team to the flood-hit Port St. Johns in the Eastern Cape.

The most affected area is Greens Farm location in Port St Johns. Rain also fell over a large area affecting thousands of people in places such as Mbizana, Lusikisiki, and Qumbu.

Hundreds of people have been accommodated in the town hall after their houses were flooded.

SANDF Spokesperson, Joy Peter says their team will work with other disaster teams already in the area.

“What SANDF will be doing, will be to assist with evacuation at this stage. Remember a few weeks ago, I think about six children died while crossing a river in and around Port St. Johns. And immediately upon hearing of that, the minister sent down a team of engineers to go and construct three pedestrian bridges, in and around Port St. Johns. So, the area is very close to the minister’s heart, like any other area affected by flood in and around South Africa.”

Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle has sent his condolences to the family of a 12-year old girl who was swept away by flood waters when she tried to cross a bridge near KwaBhaca.

Masualle’s Spokesperson, Sizwe Kupelo, says, “We’d also like to urge communities to please exercise extra caution, and even postpone their travels arrangements. We’ve also sent a communication to districts to schools that they should not allow learners to attend school if they have to cross rivers.”