A fire has caused significant damage to Kauma Adventist High School in Kiribati.
Tekemau Ribabaiti, school principal, awoke about 12:45 a.m. in early November after hearing a loud intermittent crackling noise. Looking outside towards the noise, he saw a fire had erupted at the school. Soon after, he arrived on-site, where a large number of people, including students and teachers, had already gathered and were frantically trying to put out the flames using buckets filled with water from local wells.
The fire was eventually extinguished, but not before it had destroyed a number of offices and classrooms, including computer and science laboratories. Printers, computers, tables, chairs, textbooks, and other equipment were lost; however, the school library was saved.
Kauma Adventist High School is the main Seventh-day Adventist educational institution in Kiribati. The co-educational high school offers education from junior level to form seven, drawing its students from across the Kiribati group of islands. It currently has an enrolment of almost 500 students and a teaching staff of 34, plus 13 support staff.
Mele Vaihola, Trans Pacific Union Mission Education director, has asked church members to keep the principal, teachers, and students in their prayers.