Published On: Thu, Sep 3rd, 2015

Middle East Wars Deprive 13 Million Children Of School

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Over 13 million children are deprived of the Middle East to school because of devastating conflicts in many countries of the region, according to UNICEF, which deplores a disastrous situation for a generation.

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The destructive impact of conflict is felt by children throughout the region, summarizes Peter Salama, Unicef’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

It is not only material damage in schools, but also the desperation felt by a generation of schoolchildren who see their hopes and broken future, he regretted commenting a report released Thursday.

These children live in the most troubled countries in the region, such as Syria, the Iraq, Yemen, Libya, the Palestinian Territories and Sudan, or are refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

In total, over 13 million of them, four out of ten children in the most affected countries, who do not attend school as the region enters seemed a few years ago, to reach the The goal of education for all, said Unicef.

More than 8,850 schools in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya can not accommodate students because they have been damaged or destroyed, home to displaced or are occupied by belligerents, the report said.

And in Yemen, some schools have been “transformed into barracks”, including Houthi Shiite rebels, depriving students of the second semester of the school year, complained a teacher in Sanaa.

Tanks and Air Defence units were stationed in schools, protested for his part Abdel Rab Hassan, director of a school in the capital told AFP.

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As a result, schools and colleges are closed in Yemen since early in March, the air campaign launched by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia to prevent the Houthis to take the whole of the country.

In Gaza, children use schools as shelters because their homes were destroyed during the war of summer 2014. Also in Iraq where some schools welcome three million displaced people forced to flee their towns affected by the violence, especially related to group Islamic state (EI).

Syria, Sudan and Yemen as well as in much of Libya, parents no longer send their children to school, fearing for their safety, says UNICEF.

Going to school is full of danger for many children, said the organization counted 214 attacks against schools in the area in 2014.

In Benghazi, Libya’s second city, only 65 of 239 schools are still open.

In Syria, the conflict destroyed two decades of work in favor of expanding access to education, laments Unicef, which indicates that more than 52,000 teachers left their posts.

In neighboring countries, more than 700,000 Syrian children are not in school, especially in Turkey and Lebanon where schools are overcrowded and lack resources.

Conflicts have also significantly reduced the livelihood of families, forcing children to leave school to work in difficult conditions and for low wages. Young girls may be married as young as 13 years to ease the burden of the family.

Private education, some young people end up joining, voluntarily or not, armed groups. In Yemen, Haj Saeed complained that his 16 year old son, Anwar, “eventually reach Dhaleh province (south) where he took up arms alongside the Houthis.”

Lack of education is one of the reasons often put forward by Syrian refugees seeking to reach Europe. I want my children to play and go to school like all children, a mother of 34 years arrived this summer on the Greek island of Kos.

To avoid a total mess for a whole generation, UNICEF calls include strengthening individual teaching methods, including digital, and to make education one of the priorities of humanitarian aid, which currently spends less there 2% of its total funds.

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