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Lebanon: UNRWA forced to postpone start of school year in the south due to Ein El Hilweh clashes

Posted On: 28-09-2023 | Politics , Human Rights , International
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More than 11,000 Palestine Refugees children in South Lebanon will not be able to join their peers at the beginning of the school year on 2 October. This is a quarter of refugee school children and is due to violence and clashes in the Ein El Hilweh camp, the largest in the country.  

“UNRWA was forced to take this decision given all our eight schools inside the camp have been taken over by armed groups. They have sustained significant destruction and damage. Other schools – outside the camp- are currently being used by displaced families,” said Dorothée Klaus, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon.

At least 4,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Ein El Hilweh. Many sought refuge in UNRWA facilities while others are staying with relatives and friends.

“UNRWA is currently working to find alternatives so that children from the camp and the surrounding areas can go back to school as soon as possible. Children’s education is a right that should never be compromised. We call on those fighting and those with influence over them to vacate the UNRWA schools inside the camp,” concluded Klaus.

Meanwhile, UNRWA has been providing safe spaces and some education material for children and activities so they can have some learning and be able to reconnect with their childhood.

On 19 August, eight UNRWA schools were taken over by militants. Read statement here to learn more about the work of UNRWA to help displaced families, read the latest situation report.

Since 31 July when the fighting began, at least 30 people were killed, and hundreds were injured. Fighting led to massive destruction across most of the camp. Thousands of people have fled.

On 29 August, UNRWA appealed for US$ 15.5 million to support its response to displaced families forced to flee the camp.

Armed groups have taken over eight UNRWA schools inside Ein El Hilweh camp, hampering the access of nearly 6,000 children to education when the school year starts on 2 October.

UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 with a mandate to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to registered Palestine refugees in the Agency’s area of operations pending a just and lasting solution to their plight.

UNRWA operates in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Tens of thousands of Palestine refugees who lost their homes and livelihoods due to the1948 conflict continue to be displaced and in need of support, nearly 75 years on.

UNRWA helps Palestine Refugees achieve their full potential in human development. It does this through quality services it provides in education, health care, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance, and emergency assistance.  UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions.

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