Ethiopia: UN Agency Says Over 200,000 Refugee Children Out Of School Due To COVID-19

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Tuesday said over 200,000 refugee children are currently out of school in Ethiopia due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reported CGTN Africa.

“The Ethiopian Ministry of Education has initiated consultations with education and health partners on possible reopening of schools during the new academic year. Schools have been closed since March due to COVID-19, leaving over 200,000 refugee children out of school,” the UN refugee agency said in its situation update issued on Tuesday.

Notably, Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa. According to the latest figures from the UN refugee agency, the East African country shelters about 779,261 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of the beginning of September 2020.

The UN agency said that essential primary healthcare activities are being provided in all refugee camps, as part of the ongoing national campaign to enhance awareness and testing for COVID-19.

The UNHCR also noted that an additional 200,000 face masks have been delivered to the refugee camps to improve the protection of frontline responders.  Other safety equipments including infrared thermometers, disposable gloves, and surgical masks have been procured for distribution.

The UN agency, however, stressed that refugees continue to receive only about 84 percent of the minimum standard food ration of 2,100 kcal per person per day.

“This has kept the global acute malnutrition rate in most camps higher than the acceptable standards,” the update report said.

The agency said Education Cannot Wait (ECW) has allotted 1.8 million U.S. dollars to strengthen its COVID-19 response in education. Furthermore, the Ethiopia Ministry of Education is also working in with its partners to develop guidelines on how to mitigate COVID-19 and ensure a safe learning environment.

Ethiopia has so far reported over 70,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, more than 1,100 deaths, and 28,990 recoveries.

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