News in Brief 23 January 2017 (AM)

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WHO responds to health challenges facing people in Iraq. Photo: WHO Iraq (file photo)

Vaccination campaign targets six million children in Iraq

A five-day campaign has been launched to immunize over six million under-fives in Iraq.

Those being targeted include more than 400,000 children in newly liberated areas of Mosul, where a military offensive is underway to free the northern city from the terrorist group ISIL, also known as Daesh.

The campaign has been organized by Iraq's Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The goal is to increase children's immunity and to sustain Iraq's polio-free status, in addition to reaching children who may have been missed during routine vaccinations and other campaigns.

WHO reports that more than 26,000 mobile teams are taking part in the exercise, with more than 2,000 targeting the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq.

Appeal for Palestinian refugees affected by Syrian conflict

The world is being asked not to forget the more than 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria whose lives have been impacted by the country's ongoing conflict.

That's the message from the head of the UN agency which assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, to an international donor conference which opened in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

UNRWA chief Pierre Krähenbühl said another generation of Palestinians is enduring the trauma of displacement and loss as a result of the Syrian crisis, now entering its sixth year.

"While the physical devastation of the conflict is visible for all to see," he added, "the human consequences, the accumulated fear and suffering, are at times more difficult to map out."

UNRWA recently launched a US$411 million appeal for Palestinians across the region that have been affected by the crisis.

Documentary sheds light on Syrian refugee children's dreams of school

A new interactive documentary is providing a glimpse into the lives of young Syrian refugees in Lebanon who dream of getting an education.

The documentary, #ImagineaSchool, was launched on Monday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) to coincide with the start of a two-day forum in Helsinki on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

Lebanon hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees worldwide and UNICEF reports that around half of Syrian school-aged children there, or 187,000 youngsters, are out of school.

"Instead of getting an education, thousands of Syrian children, some as young as six years old, are working in agriculture, factories, construction and on the streets," the agency said.

#ImagineaSchool tells the stories of 19 of these children and their struggle to access education.

The title was provided by two girls who are featured in the documentary, both of whom have never set foot in a classroom.

As one of the girls, 13-year-old Dyana, stated: "I imagine a school to be very beautiful. With paintings of girls and boys on the walls."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 3'06"

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