UNICEF marks a busy year in the Middle East and North Africa

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(MENAFN- Famagusta Gazette)

By Nathan Morley

According to UNICEF, children were once again the focus of events in the Middle East and North Africa this year. The organization says that at the height of lockdowns and closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 110 million children were unable to attend school.

“Every country has at least one online education platform in place, but many children have missed it because of digital poverty. Almost 40 percent of children had no access to the Internet or electronic devices, ”UNICEF said in a press release on Thursday.

In addition, too many children lost their lives in search of a better life and a future, increasingly at sea too. This year alone, at least 1,500 people – including many children – were killed in the central Mediterranean region. Children continued to die in conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Sudan and the State of Palestine. “We marked a whole decade with the crisis in Syria and a year with the explosion in Beirut, while the bereaved were not given accountability or justice,” noted UNICEF.

Due to ongoing crises, every fifth child in the region is dependent on humanitarian aid. UNICEF distributed around 40 million doses of routine vaccines to children for polio and measles, reaching nearly 20 million people with drinking water and nearly half a million people with cash assistance, a lifeline of how many jobs were lost and sunk into poverty.

In the wake of the pandemic and the spread of false and inaccurate information, UNICEF reached 300 million people with information on vaccine safety and protection against COVID-19. “To help with the global pandemic response,” the organization stated, “we supplied more than 10 million masks, face shields, gloves, hygiene kits, detergents, ventilators and oxygen concentrators.”

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