Floating school in Nigerian lagoon collapses in storm


Floating school in Nigerian lagoon collapses in storm

Residents of Makoko, a vast slum of houses on stilts in a Lagos lagoon, say they will rebuild their pyramid-shaped floating school, after it collapsed in a storm on Tuesday (June 7).

The school, which became a beacon of hope for the nearly 100,000 Nigerians who live in Makoko, was damaged by heavy downpour, despite being built to specifically withstand the storms and floods that are common in the four-month-long rainy season.

“What happened is yesterday’s storm was very heavy, it is not only the floating school that collapsed. It collapsed many houses surrounding the floating school when the rain started,” David Shemede, Makoko resident and brother to the school’s director said on Wednesday (June 8).

With room for 100 pupils, the school – built with locally sourced wood and floating on hundreds of recycled plastic barrels – had thrown a spotlight on the poverty that pervades the commercial hub of Africa’s most populous nation.

Aid-funded Makoko Floating School offered free education to local children, most of whose parents fish for a living and who, like most of the megacity’s 21 million residents, lack a reliable electricity and water supply.

The project which was started in 2012 was officially opened in November 2015.

Nigerian architect, Kunle Adeyemi said in a statement that the Makoko community and stakeholders were already considering upgrading the structure and there would be a reconstruction of an improved version.

Makoko was established as a fishing village hundreds of years ago but now climate change and rapid urbanization are threatening its way of life.

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