The impact of flood disasters on child education in Muzarabani District, Zimbabwe
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The increase in flood intensity and frequency poses a threat to community infrastructure and affects the total well-being of children in regard to: access to food, health, school attendance, access to clean water and sanitation, physical and social security. Using both qualitative and quantitative data, this article provided an overview of flood disasters and their potential effects on children’s access to quality education in Zimbabwe. The purpose of the study was to analyse school children’s specific vulnerabilities to flood disasters that need to be taken into account in policy development. Research indicated that floods cause loss of learning hours, loss of qualified personnel, outbreak of waterborne diseases, high absenteeism and low syllabus coverage leading to children’s poor academic performance. Children noted a range of experiences, from food insecurity to being withdrawn from school and sometimes forced into early marriages. These challenges compromise children’s rights and access to quality education. This article therefore recommended that a culture of safety be promoted through disaster education, development of good road networks and enforcement of building codes during construction of school infrastructure. Findings also supported the need for adaptation strategies to ensure that the risks specific to school children are addressed.