AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Conflicts, floods, migration leading causes of early school drop-out

Friday, 22 March 2013

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - The ongoing conflict between the two ethnic Oromo and Somali are also severely impacting on the education of children. There are thousands of those living in agricultural regions of Ethiopia who are pastoralists, and are dropping out of school due to frequent natural disasters such as droughts and floods, inter-racial clashes and the continuing seasonal migrations along with their families because of the adverse weather conditions or insecurity. Since the beginning of the school year 2012-2013, in the month of February alone, at least 17,000 children dropped out of school, mainly due to migration because of the drought. According to a recent report by the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia, 15 schools have been closed for lack of water during the current dry season, involving about 1899 children, 29% of them girls. In areas of Oromo of Hararghe, eastern area affected by conflicts, for more than 3 months 10,600 children were uneducated, 40%girls, of 35 elementary schools in the districts of Kumbi, Gursum, Meyumuluke and Chenasken. In the south-eastern Somali region, seasonal floods, ethnic conflicts among the residents of border areas and internal conflicts among Somalis also have a negative impact on education. In 2012, for example, severe flooding destroyed many schools in this area of the country, depriving 3.196 girls of school. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 22/03/2013)