Schoolkids in north sent home after tents flood

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Turkish Cypriot students attending a high school in Lefkoniko, which is now operating tent classrooms, were sent home Monday due to flooding after heavy rain.

Images of the flooded tent classrooms made the rounds on social media.

The incident happened at the Cumhuriyet High School in Lefkoniko, one of three schools in the north operating in tents after the school buildings were deemed unfit after the powerful Turkey earthquake.

As reported by media in the Turkish-occupied north, three schools, Namik Kemal High School, Karakol Primary in Famagusta, and Cumhuriyet in Lefkoniko, began holding lessons in tents on Monday.

The authorities had conducted surveys on school buildings following the 7.8 magnitude quake in Turkey and Syria, which killed over 50,000, including 48 Turkish Cypriots.

The student community in the north mourned the loss of 24 students who had been in Turkey for a volleyball tournament.

Earlier in the month, Namik Kemal High School parents stopped sending their children to classes in protest after it emerged that the survey had found the school building unsafe.

Following a backlash, the head of education in the north, Nazim Cavusoglu, announced that classes would be conducted in tents in the three schools deemed at risk of collapse.

According to reports, 12 of 25 tents have been set up at Namik Kemal school for 1,300 students and 100 teachers.

Students are supposed to attend classes on an alternating basis, with some of them taking online lessons.

Cavusoglu said 14 classes at a nearby school would be available to students at the Namik Kemal school at the end of the month.

Parents at the Karakol primary school protested against the decision to have students carry out lessons in tents.

One parent staging a symbolic demonstration outside the tents, Özlem Akbora, said: “We are not at war, there has been no earthquake, but we are under the rubble”.

Akbora said seven children who survived the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey attended the school after their families sought refuge in the north.

“They came here, seeking refuge in what they thought was a normal country.

“And these are the conditions we offer them.”

Meanwhile, the opposition parties in the north have taken a swing at the ruling coalition, headed by the National Unity Party (UBP).

The head of the main opposition Turkish Republican Party (CTP), Tufan Erhurman, criticised the situation as “shambolic”.

“The meteorology service warned you of heavy rain. It obviously went in one ear and out the other,” said CTP’s leader.