Iraq conflict keeping millions of children out of school

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Children in the Khanke Camp near Dohuk city, Iraq. File Photo: UNAMI

Conflict in Iraq is preventing nearly two million children from attending school, the UN children's agency (UNICEF) reports.

Another 1.2 million youngsters are also at risk of dropping out, according to the agency.

UNICEF describes the situation as "nothing short of devastating."

Dianne Penn has the story.

This week marked the start of the academic year in Iraq but as the UNICEF figures show, millions of children did not show up for class.

The agency says nearly one million Iraqi children are displaced, 70 per cent of whom have already lost an entire year of school.

Furthermore, more than 5,300 schools nationwide—or one in five—are destroyed or damaged, or they have been converted into shelters for displaced people.

Some have been taken over by parties to the country's conflict.

UNICEF representative in the country, Peter Hawkins, says "The impact of conflict, violence and displacement on education in Iraq is nothing short of devastating."

UNICEF and its partners continue to provide children with access to education.

Last year, they built 40 new schools, set up temporary ones, and distributed educational materials like notebooks and schoolbags to more than 200,000 children.

But the UN agency said it will need US$68 million by the end of the year to address the need.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″

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