Climate Development Education

Cyclone Freddy: PTUZ urges evacuation of students in risky areas

Raymond Majongwe

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has taken note of the warnings issued by the Met Department and the Government’s Civil Protection Unit in relation to Cyclone Freddy, expected to hit the country today, and is warning authorities to evacuate students in risky areas.

Although the cyclone has currently been downgraded to an overland Tropical Depression and has dropped windspeed to about 80kph, the storm is expected to pick up strength from the warm Mozambique Channel as it heads further inland.

“While it is commendable that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has suspended learning for schools in districts that are expected to be hit, we believe boarding schools in treacherous mountainous terrain should have been evacuated altogether.

“We do not want a repeat of the fatal incidents that occurred at St Charles Luwanga during Cyclone Idai in 2019 where buildings and hostels packed with students were destroyed by falling boulders, with fatal consequences. There is nothing like being overcautious. We are calling on all teachers in these areas to exercise extreme caution, and if they are not on duty related to the protection of students, to get out of harm’s way by moving to areas that are not in the path of Cyclone Freddy, where possible. Our hope is that the government has a rapid response team should things go bad during this difficult time,” said Raymond Majongwe, the PTUZ Secreatry-General.

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