The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Tuesday that more than 200,000 refugee children were out of school in Ethiopia due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
The UN refugee agency said this in its situation update issued on Tuesday in Addis Ababa.
“The Ethiopian ministry of education has initiated consultations with education and health partners on possible reopening of schools for the new academic year.
“Schools have been closed since March due to COVID-19, leaving more than 200,000 refugee children out of school,” the UN said.
The East African country is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa, sheltering about 779, 261 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of the beginning of September, 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 ongoing national campaign to enhance awareness and testing for COVID-19.
It also noted that an additional 200,000 face masks have been delivered to refugee camps to improve protection of frontline responders, while infrared thermometers, disposable gloves, and surgical masks have been procured for distribution.
The UNHCR, however, stressed that refugees continue to receive only about 84 per cent 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,” it said.
It also said that it had received 1.8 million dollars from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to strengthen its COVID-19 response in education.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Education is also working with partners to develop guidelines on how to mitigate COVID-19 and ensure a safe learning environment.