Archive for August 14th, 2016

Despite pledges, 1 million Syrian refugees are out of school

August 03, 2016

BEIRUT (AP) — Schools in the Middle East are facing major budget shortfalls ahead of the new academic year, leaving some 1 million Syrian refugee children out of school, according to a report published by Theirworld, an international children’s charity.

The five-year-long Syrian war has placed huge strain on the region’s school systems, forcing neighboring countries to depend on multi-billion dollar grants from donor nations to meet education needs. There are 2.5 million Syrian children registered as refugees with the United Nations, the world body says. Most live in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan as they wait for an opportunity to return home.

In February, the international community pledged $1.4 billion in school funding for host nations at a London donor conference but less than $400 million of that has been fulfilled, Theirworld estimates. That leaves a funding gap of $1 billion.

Kevin Watkins, the author of the report, which was published late Tuesday, said donors had “broken their promises.” In Lebanon, more than half of the nearly 500,000 school-age Syrian refugee children receive no formal education, according to Human Rights Watch, despite reforms allowing overburdened public schools to run two shifts a day.

Many Syrian refugee families have no choice but to put their children to work to help meet basic expenses in a country with few social protections and tight movement restrictions. Children who do go to school face difficulties with new curriculums, and many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychosocial problems.

“The schools accept Syrian refugees, but the children don’t adapt. They register but then they drop out,” said Najah Kherallah Jomaa, a refugee from Syria’s Aleppo living in a settlement in the Lebanese town of Bar Elias.

The report by Theirworld warns of a “lost generation” of Syrians if determined steps are not taken to ensure school access for all.

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Turkish hospital in Gaza to open in 2017

13 August 2016 Saturday

A Turkish hospital currently under construction in Palestine will open its doors in 2017, an official working on the project said Friday.

Funded by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), the Palestine-Turkey Friendship Hospital will be Gaza’s largest when it becomes operational, according to TIKA’s Palestine Coordinator Bulent Korkmaz.

Korkmaz told Anadolu Agency that the cost has so far reached $40 million. “The hospital will include cancer and heart research and treatment departments as well as a prayer room and library,” he added.

The facility is just one of hundreds of TIKA-funded projects in Palestine, ranging from vocational training for the disabled to water wells in the Gaza Strip.

The latest influx of Turkish aid to Gaza was made possible by way of a deal signed last month between Turkey and Israel in which the two nations agreed to restore diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Tel Aviv had met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalizing ties, which were severed in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed a Gaza-bound Turkish aid vessel.

The attack resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists and left 30 others injured, including one victim who succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.

At the time, Turkey demanded Israel officially apologized for the attack, compensate the families of the victims and lift its longstanding blockade against the Gaza Strip.

In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his regret to Turkey’s then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the deadly ordeal.

Under the terms of last week’s agreement to normalize relations, the two countries will exchange ambassadors and Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the flotilla attack victims.

Israel has also agreed to Turkey’s request to maintain a “humanitarian presence” in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/headlines/176126/turkish-hospital-in-gaza-to-open-in-2017.

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