News in Brief 19 August 2015 (AM)

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UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl visiting the Abu Tue'ma school in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on 14 September 2014, to celebrate the start of the new school year. Photo: UNRWA/Shareef Sarhan

Schools to open on schedule for Palestinian refugee children

Schools for half a million Palestinian refugee children across the Middle East will open on time, the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has announced.

UNRWA said that a funding shortfall of US$101 million that threatened to delay the start of classes this year has been alleviated.

Since holding an emergency session in July on its financial crisis, the agency has received US$78.9 million from donors, almost half from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

More funds are expected from the European Union in the coming weeks.

Killing of leading scholars of Syrian antiquity a "terrible loss": UNESCO

The brutal murder of two leading scholars of Syrian antiquity has been deplored as a "terrible loss to the cultural heritage community in Syria and globally" by the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO.

An 82-year-old archaeologist who oversaw antiquities at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Palmyra was killed recently at the site, the agency said.

The terrorist group Daesh, also known as ISIL, took control of Palmyra in May.

According to news reports, the archaeologist had been held for more than a month and was being questioned about the location of valuable artefacts.

A senior director at the state-run antiquities and museums agency was also killed by a rocket attack on the ancient citadel in Damascus.

Emergency health services ramped up at camps in South Sudan

Health, water, hygiene and sanitation services are being scaled up at the UN's base in north-eastern South Sudan to cope with the influx of asylum-seekers, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 10,000 people have arrived at the Malakal site since the South Sudanese army lifted a month-long aid blockade of the conflict-torn region on 7 August.

WHO and its partners are opening more clinics and rushing in extra drinking water and sanitation supplies to prevent infection and the spread of water-borne diseases.

The overcrowded camp is now home to more than 46,500 people, with little or no access to safe water and sanitation.

Maria Carlino, United Nations

Duration: 2’09″

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