Butaleja School Suspends Lessons After Falling Debris Kills Pupil

The School Head teacher, Yefusa Wadidi, says teachers reported to school on Thursday morning ready to conduct lessons but didn’t find learners due to the trauma they went through.

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 Nankwasi Primary School in Butaleja district has suspended lessons following the collapse of a classroom block, which claimed the life of one pupil and left 28 others hospitalised. 10-year-old Mwajuma Namugawe was pronounced dead shortly after being rushed to Busolwe hospital after being hit by falling debris on Wednesday.

The affected block, which hosted three classrooms also acted as a dormitory for P7 girls. 15 girls were sleeping when the block collapsed during a heavy down pour coupled with hailstorm.  Our reporter visited the school On Thursday morning and found teachers and some parents locked up in a crisis meeting in the head teacher’s office.  

The School Head teacher, Yefusa Wadidi, says teachers reported to school on Thursday morning ready to conduct lessons but didn’t find learners due to the trauma they went through. He explained that the disaster has paralyzed all school activities including lessons, adding that they plan to call a management meeting and talk to parents such that the situation comes to normal.      

Nankwasi Primary school has over 1000 pupils with only seven classrooms, which the head teacher, says are not enough. He said the P.3 classroom block, which collapsed was a temporal one. The classroom had 180 pupils.  Wadidid says that they have to squeeze learners in one classroom because they don’t have enough classes.        

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Somaset Were, the Chairperson of the School Management Committee told Uganda Radio Network that the building that collapsed was built by parents in 1993, adding that government hasn’t done enough to give the school more classes given the big population.         

He said the school management knew that the building was dilapidated but never expected it to collapse soon. 

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Were said that the school is not doing well in terms of facilities like latrines, water sources, desks and classrooms and called upon government to intervene and save the situation.  

Isaac Henry Hire, a teacher of English in P.3 explains that the block collapsed shortly after completing a lesson in the same class.   

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He said that immediately he got out of the class, the class teacher ordered the pupils to vacate the classroom because the weather had started changing. However, the building caved in before all the pupils could leave. Hire said that they have been cautious about the state of the building and would shift learners each time it would rain.

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Parents of the school have called upon government to get the school better classrooms to save their children from dying because of dilapidated structures.    

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Uganda Radio Network visited Busolwe General Hospital where the 28 children who were injured are hospitalised.       

Dr. Ivan Wambi, the acting Medical Superintendent Busolwe General Hospital, said that many of the children have stabilized and some of them have been discharged.    

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Yunus Hamira, the Butaleja District Speaker, described the incident as unfortunate, saying they have lost seven people due to heavy rains and hailstorms.   

He attributes the challenge to the absence of trees in the district, which leaves the places bare and susceptible to wind.  

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Recently, the Office of the Prime Minister Issued a warning on heavy rains and potential disasters that could come with the first-season-rains especially lightning, landslides, floods, storms and hailstorm.

Martin Owor, the Commissioner, Disaster Preparedness and Management at OPM, said chances of disaster increase during the rainy season and called on the public to be vigilant  

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