Monday November 28, 2022

1,000 public schools damaged in floods

August 27, 2022

LAHORE:Monsoon rains and floods have damaged around 1,000 public schools over the last few weeks in South Punjab causing an estimated loss of Rs3 billion, it is learnt.

Sources in the School Education Department (SED) Punjab told The News that most schools were affected by flood in Rahim Yar Khan 115 and Dera Ghazi Khan 104 schools which were either partially or fully damaged with severe damages to boundary walls as well as walls and roofs of classrooms.

The widespread damage to schools has been causing academic loss to thousands of students in flood affected areas with no alternate arrangements in place at the present. While data about public schools has been collected, no effort is in sight vis-à-vis data of private schools damaged by floods in these areas.

As per details, so far the SED Punjab had collected data of 995 schools damaged by flood and of these 635 are primary schools, 137 elementary schools, 201 high schools and 22 higher secondary schools. Other districts where rains and flood have damaged schools are Bahawalpur, Bahawalnagar, Multan, Muzaffargarh and Vehari etc. The sources said in the wake of the weather forecast, SED Punjab had activated its Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group of which UNICEF was also part a couple of weeks back which helped teams on ground collect data in time. Headquartered at the SED’s Establishment Wing, the working group has been coordinating with the field officers through District Education Authorities (DEAs) in affected areas.

Of all the damaged primary schools, 71 schools have been completely damaged while 316 have been severely damaged. Similarly, as many as seven high schools have been completely damaged.

“The situation vis-à-vis actual damage will be clear once flood waters recede”, commented a senior SED Punjab official. The official, seeking anonymity, said the department had shared the latest information with its local and international partners while efforts were being made to ensure makeshift arrangements so that students could continue their academic journey where possible. As per data, the roofs of 106 schools have completely damaged while the boundary walls of 591 schools have also collapsed while furniture of 94 schools has been damaged. The official said that as per latest estimates around Rs3 billion would be required to rebuild schools and carry out maintenance in flood-hit areas. He said donor agencies had also been approached to help arrange makeshift arrangements including provision of tents and necessary stuff to hold classes in areas where possible. Secy SED Punjab Nabeel Javed confirmed that the department had collected data of schools affected by flood. He said the information was shared with the donor agencies.