It’s back to school for Palestinian children in Gaza amid death and destruction

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Palestinians search through the rubble of their home destroyed by Israeli strikes in Khuza’a, southern Gaza Strip. Credit: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan

Over half a million Palestinian children will be returning to school on Sunday next week, but many will have no learning facilities as families displaced by last month's Israeli military action in Gaza are still camping in schools.

This is according to the United Nations Children's fund UNICEF.

Data by the Palestinian ministry of education indicates that 25 government schools were completely destroyed and at least 207 others including 75 run by the UN agency assisting Palestinians UNRWA suffered varying degrees of damage.

UNICEF says many children will also be returning to school still traumatized by the violence, death and destruction they witnessed during the 50 day conflict.

The agency says it will repair at least 108 partially damaged schools over the next 6 months subject to availability of funding.

Jens Laerke from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) gives an update on the situation in Gaza.

"There are still as of yesterday more than 63,000 internally displaced people staying in 29 UNRWA schools as a result of the 50-days crisis, but the numbers are fluid. there are also an additional 50,000 other displaced who are living with host families. In total more than 113,000 still displaced. Humanitarian partners on the ground report that to respond to this displacement, funds are quite urgently needed to finance a comprehensive support package which will include support to host families, rental subsidies, assistance to repair minor damages and vouchers to purchase non-food items. We could also report that 90 per cent of health facilities in Gaza are operational again, although some with limited services due to damage. However, challenges remain due to shortages of electricity, essential medicines and other medical supplies."

At least 2,132 Palestinians among them 501 children were killed during the 50 day Israeli military offensive in Gaza that ended in a ceasefire on August 26th.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 2.05″

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