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Half a million students drop out in Yemen war: UNICEF

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by: Agence France-Presse

Close to half a million Yemeni children have dropped out of school since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in the country’s civil war, UNICEF said Tuesday.

That brings the number of children without access to education to two million, as minors are increasingly recruited in the fighting, according to the UN children’s agency.

“An entire generation of children in Yemen faces a bleak future because of limited or no access to education,” said Meritxell Relano, UNICEF’s Yemen representative.

“The journey to school has also become dangerous as children risk being killed en route,” Relano said.

“Fearing for their children’s safety, many parents choose to keep their children at home. The lack of access to education has pushed children and families to dangerous alternatives, including early marriage, child labour and recruitment into the fighting.”

At least 2,419 children have been recruited by armed groups since 2015, according to UNICEF.

Another 4.5 million risk losing access to public schools as teachers have not been paid in more than a year amid a crisis that has seen Yemen — long the Arab world’s poorest country — reach the brink of official famine.

Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since a regional alliance, led by Saudi Arabia, launched a military campaign against Iran-backed Huthi rebels who seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa.