School closures triple in Central and Western Africa as education comes under fire
A surge in “deliberate” attacks against students, teachers and schools in West and Central Africa has led to a tripling in school closures in the last year, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday.
In a new report, the UN agency warned that a generation of youngsters had been “robbed of an education” in eight countries in the Sahel region.
Sounding the alarm in Geneva was UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Muzoon Almellehan, a former Syrian refugee:
“Nearly two million children are out of school due to conflict, so it is not an easy number. It is important to highlight those challenges, to highlight the struggle of those people. They need us, they need our attention. I had to flee my homeland in Syria in 2013 and I also had to live in refugee camps. It wasn’t easy for me and also I can feel like those children who can’t go to school, because education is something really, really important to me, myself.”
Data gathered by UNICEF to June indicates that 9,272 schools have been closed in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger and Nigeria as a result of insecurity - three times the number at the end of 2017.
Sudan flash-floods leave 54 dead, nearly 200,000 affected: OCHA
Fifty-four people have died in Sudan because of flash-flooding since last month, and nearly 194,000 people have been affected across the country, humanitarians have said.
Citing an alert from the Sudanese authorities, the UN’s humanitarian coordinating arm, OCHA, reported that 15 out of 18 states have been hit, and more than 37,000 homes destroyed or damaged.
Here’s spokesperson Jens Laerke: “The affected people are in need of emergency shelter, food, health services and clean water and sanitation. There's also an urgent need for vector control to limit the spread of waterborne diseases by insects, and drainage of stagnant water.”
With the rainy season expected to last until October, and more rainfall forecast, humanitarians are concerned by the high likelihood of more flash-floods.
Of the $1.1 billion required to respond to all aid needs in Sudan this year, only 30 per cent has been provided by donors.
Ebola outbreak spreading but intensity of transmission has fallen: WHO
And finally to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC, where the Ebola virus outbreak continues to prove hard to pin down, but UN health experts remain positive that they can eradicate it.
Speaking in Geneva, Dr. Michael Ryan from the World Health Organization (WHO) explained that two of the biggest challenges were daily security risks in the north east, along with the massive movement of people – all potential carriers of the virus.
“At the peak of this outbreak we were tracking 22,000 contacts every day; tracking 22,000 different people every day in an area where people, hundreds of thousands of people move in the province every day, has been a huge challenge.”
While the disease has spread in the last two weeks, to Mwenga in South Kivu, Dr. Ryan insisted that one of the biggest steps forward was the development of vaccines and therapeutic medicines.
Latest data shows that the outbreak has led to total of 2927 cases of infection and 1961 deaths.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.