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2.8 million children in North-East need educational support – UN

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has said that an estimated 2.8 million school-age children affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States are in dire need of educational assistance.

The agency, in a report titled 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria, made available to our correspondent on Thursday, noted that the sum of $60.9m would be required to reach the out-of-school children with the necessary educational support.

The report also indicated that the insurgents had destroyed about 1,200 schools in Borno State since 2009. It said that the displacement of about 19,000 teachers in the state had seriously affected the children’s access to education.

The report reads in part, “The destruction of large parts of affected towns and villages has led to a collapse of essential public services, most notably health, nutrition, education and telecommunications infrastructure. Approximately 40 per cent of health facilities and nearly half of Borno State’s schools were destroyed.

“Deliberate attacks, burning and looting of schools caused some 90,000 school-age children to be out of school since 2009. In Borno alone, more than 1,200 schools have been destroyed. If we fail to respond, the new generation of hope, with these children accessing education for a better future, will be completely diminished.”

Our correspondent learnt that the United Nations had launched an appeal for the donation of $1.05bn to coordinate humanitarian efforts in the North-East in 2018. Education is the sixth targeted area where the fund will be spent. Other areas include food security, health, nutrition, emergency shelter and non-food items.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said that UNOCHA’s  2018 Humanitarian Response Plan would be implemented by 60 organisations, including international and national Non-Governmental Organisations.

He said, “This year, we, a community of 60 organisations working to implement the HRP, will aim to provide food assistance. About 2.2 million children and teachers will be supported through education assistance, including through the provision of safe spaces for learning, school supplies and teacher trainings.

“Finally, for long-term impact, 2.7 million people will be supported in accessing basic public services and restarting their lives.”

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