Head of Communications at the Department of Basic Education (DBE) Elijah Mhlanga revealed that 68 learners have passed away while five learners remain missing.
Mhlanga said, “There are five children that are still missing but we know it could be many more because some of them were not necessarily in school, they were in ECD centres and we are monitoring those as well so there's huge damage in terms of human cost but also damage in terms of infrastructure”.
It is estimated that 630 schools have sustained damage because of the floods with 124 of them suffering serious damage. A further 72 schools are inaccessible.
The DBE has arranged for 98 mobile classrooms to be sent to the flood-affected areas in the province to aid learning.
School learners are also being accommodated in community halls around the province where food and shelter are being provided to them.
Mhlanga added that attendance is increasing in the province as schools open after becoming accessible to teachers and learners.
We're seeing an increase in the number of people who are now going back to school and we've urged our school principals to open all the schools that they can open even where the school is not fully accessible.
Mhlanga says this will allow principals to inform the DBE about the damages sustained at the schools which will be considered in the DBE’s planning.
“We also advised our school principals to allow children whether they're wearing uniform or not to report to school so that we can account for them and give them the assistance that they need,” explained Mhlanga.