Thousands of children in Fiji unable to return to school

Thousands of children in Fiji may not be able to make the return to school on Monday, after the extensive damaged caused by cyclone Winston. 

Children's rights agency, Save the Children says around 80 schools in Fiji have been flooded, damaged or completely destroyed. More than 30 schools are being used as emergency shelters for homeless families.

CEO Iris Low-McKenzie says although most schools are to reopen on Monday, many children will not be able to return.

“We know from decades of experience in emergencies that the longer children are out of school, the higher the risk that they may drop out of school permanently, with the most marginalised at greater risk.

In the days, weeks and months ahead, we will work with the Ministry of Education in Fiji to ensure children in cyclone affected communities can get back to school as soon as possible.” 

Education, even non-formal lessons, will give children who have lived through this terrible ordeal a chance at normality, a safe place to learn, as well as be supported by caring teachers and classroom assistants,” adds Low-McKenzie." 

The death toll has risen to 29 and over 150 people are injured. More than 10,000 people are in shelters in evacuation centres. 

Save the Children is working alongside the Ministry of Education to lead the education response to Cyclone Winston to allow schools to reopen as soon as possible.

They will also work with UNICEF to set up temporary classrooms to help get schools up and running. They'll distribute school bag kits to students so that they are well prepared.