Refugees in Nguenyyiel Gambella of Ethiopia, May 2019 [Image File]

COVID-19: Over 200,000 Refugee Children out of School

ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations Refugees agency said more than 200,000 refugee children are out of school in Ethiopia due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Schools have been closed since March due to COVID-19, leaving over 200,000 refugee children out of school,” the UNHCR said in its situation update issued on Tuesday.

Ministry of Education has already initiated consultations with education and health partners on possible reopening of schools during the new academic year.

Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa, sheltering about 779,261 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of the beginning of this month, according to the latest figures from the UN refugee agency.

According to the agency, essential primary healthcare activities are maintained in all refugee camps, which are currently part of the ongoing national campaign to enhance awareness and testing for COVID-19.

It, however, stressed that refugees continue to receive only about 84 percent of the minimum standard food ration of 2,100 kcal per person per day.

“This has kept the global acute malnutrition rate in most camps higher than the acceptable standards,” the agency noted.

The UN agency has received 1.8 million U.S. dollars from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to strengthen its COVID-19 response in education.