Around 100,000 children in three districts of Indonesia have had their exams disrupted by flash floods and landslides, after a tropical cyclone hit Indonesia and neighbouring Timor-Leste on Sunday, killing 128 and leaving over 8,400 displaced.
Almost 2,000 homes in the country’s East Nusa Tenggara Province have been destroyed by floods, and 72 people have been reported missing. Rescue efforts have been hampered by blocked roads, power cuts and continued landslides. Electricity and internet networks have collapsed in five districts, and more than 1 million people are living without lights. Electricity is not expected to be back to normal until May.
Children across Indonesia were due to take exams at home this week as schools remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Around 100,000 children in East Nusa Tenggara such as Kupang City, Kupang and Malaka districts have now had their exams disrupted by the chaos, according to Save the Children.
Schools in Indonesia have now been closed for over a year, with lessons and exams being held online. Save the Children is concerned about the further impact of this latest disaster on children’s education.
Miguel, a 13-year-old student in Kupang City, said:
“This morning I was ready for my exam, but then there was no signal or electricity. I didn’t get any information from my school. I feel so sad and anxious”.
Selina Patta Sumbung, CEO of Save the Children Indonesia, said:
“This is a disaster upon a disaster for these children. They are still reeling from the loss, anxiety and the disruption to their education caused the pandemic, and now, on top of losing their homes, their hopes of getting an education face yet another blow.”
“Since January we’ve had more than 1000 emergencies in Indonesia caused by floods, strong winds and landslides, and it is children who are often the most vulnerable.”
Further extreme weather and tropical cyclones are predicted in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara Province this week, according to Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency.
Save the Children is providing immediate help to families in the form of emergency shelters, blankets and hygiene kits. It is also providing mental health support for children affected by the crisis.