Tanzania:Unsafe water threatens students’ lives in Nkasi

Published by Daily News
On 14 August 2016 saa 03:25
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Rukwa Regional C o m m i s s i o n e r (RC), Mr Zelothe Steven, has directed the Nkasi District Executive Director (DED), Mr Julius Kaondo, to ensure that safety water supply infrastructures are set up at Kipili Secondary School as soon as possible.

Mr Zelothe issued the directives following reports that about 303 students from the public secondary school are in danger of contracting water borne diseases due to drinking unsafe and unclean water from the lake, since the school lacks proper water infrastructure.

Kipili Secondary School is located along the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Nkasi District, Rukwa Region. The RC also directed the Nkasi District Medical Officer (DMO) to dispatch a team of health officials to the school and see the possibilities of treating the unsafe and unclean water, which the students drink without first boiling it properly .

Investigations carried by the ‘Sunday News’ recently revealed that students use unsafe water for domestic purposes, including drinking, cooking, washing and worse of all, drinking the water fresh from the lake without boiling it first, while surrounding villages relieve themselves in the lake.

A cross-section of school teachers and students who were interviewed by this paper said the school is afflicted with myriads of challenges, including lack of electricity, shortage of teaching staff and classrooms which are in bad shape. They added that the school environment is inhospitable and unsociable to both teachers and their students.

Vice-Head of the School, Mr Calisto Mapunda, admitted that students at the school fetch water directly from Lake Tanganyika and use it for domestic purposes and drinking without boiling. “Despite such challenges, the school has no science teacher, which compels some of us to teach the subjects including biology, mathematics, physics and chemistry in form one and two because it is compulsory for them (students) to study all the nine subjects.

The school has only nine teachers, all of them are teaching art subjects,” added Mr Mapunda. Expounding further, he said that classrooms are in bad shape with rough floors, some of them have neither doors nor windows and the walls have developed huge cracks. On his part, Mr Chaua Zawadi, a history and civic subject teacher at the school said that even the parents and people living in the school vicinity have abandoned the school, with the opinion that it is the government’s responsibility to run and manage it.

“The school’s surroundings are infested with different species of snakes including cobra, where such reptiles are a threat to the lives of the students, since for instance the boys’ dormitory has no doors ….

Equally Lake Tanganyika is also infested with crocodiles which can easily attack students when they are either fetching water or swimming,” said Mr Zawadi. Similar sentiments were echoed by several students, including Loveness Chaula, Manuel Kamanki, Hosana Kalikula and Joseph Kakunda, who added that it is a pit that they are forced to sleep on the floor in their dormitories due to shortage of beds.