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Akosombo, Kpong dams spillage: 19,743 Children out of school — Report

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About 19,743 children are currently out of school, while 71 schools, from kindergarten to junior high, are submerged in flood-hit areas following the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams.

Also, more than 9,000 children could not retrieve their uniforms and other educational materials, such as bags, books, shoes, and textbooks, from the floods.

The affected areas are North, South, and Central Tongu and Anglo in the Volta region; Shai Osudoku and Ada East in the Greater Accra region; and Asuogyaman district in the Eastern region.

This was contained in a finding conducted by Child Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Occasion

The Executive Director of CRI, Bright Kweku Appiah, who read the report at a press conference in Accra yesterday, said it could take over three months for the children to return to school.

He, therefore, entreated the government to prioritise the needs of the children to avert the rise of a child protection emergency in the future.

Mr Appiah said the country was already facing a dire child protection crisis since the man-made disaster had inundated several communities in the Lower Volta Basin, making the protection of children a matter of urgency.

“The unparalleled flooding situation has given rise to an imminent child protection crisis, particularly on health and education of both adults and children,” he added.

Sexual exploitation

Mr. Appiah also said that some of the children had complained of sexual abuse issues at some of the facilities they were living in at the communities.

He said about 0.62 percent of children had reported instances of physical sexual abuse, while one percent of them complained of verbal sexual abuse.

About 20 percent of the children also expressed concerns over sleeping arrangements in the structures that allowed rooms to be occupied by both males and females.

Mr Appiah also said that 80 percent of girls reported feeling uncomfortable due to the lack of privacy where they were compelled to dress up in the presence of the opposite sex.

“Twenty-five percent of the children also said they were overcrowded in their rooms, leading to some of them sleeping on corridors.

“Over 3,200 adolescent girls, representing about 18.6 percent of the total number of children affected by this disaster, have also reported the lack of access to personal hygiene products such as sanitary towels,” he said.

Mr Appiah further said that more than 90 percent of the children had contracted ailments such as malaria, skin diseases, and headaches, while others had been traumatized as they showed signs of dissociation, refusing to acknowledge the disaster’s impact on them.

Support

Mr Appiah said the organisation intended to carry out a remediation exercise to supply affected children with exercise books, note books, textbooks, and other school materials.

“Child Rights International will also provide sanitary towels for adolescent girls to ensure that they have access to clean and hygienic options to maintain their health and dignity,” he added.

Mr Appiah, however, urged the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Health Service to develop and implement an education and health recovery plan to expedite the reintegration of the children in schools.

He also called on other organizations, individuals, and agencies involved in the distribution of relief items to ensure their equitable distribution to include children with disabilities and those caring for differently abled parents.

SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE