BEIRUT, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday that it would postpone the academic year for over 11,000 students in Ain Al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon until further notice.
The UN agency made the decision on the ground that armed groups still occupy the UNRWA schools in the area after the recent clashes between the Palestinian Fatah movement and Islamic activists.
According to the National News Agency (NNA), UNRWA said it is monitoring the situation to secure suitable educational spaces for all students in the camp to start the academic year as soon as the situation allows, adding that it will keep parents of students informed of any updates later.
"The militants still control all eight UNRWA schools in the camp, which were subjected to major damage and destruction, while the schools in the southern Lebanese city of Sidon are sheltering displaced families," the NNA quoted Dorothee Klaus, director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon, as saying.
"The schools in the vicinity of the camp must be safe so that children can attend," she added, stressing that enabling more than 11,000 UNRWA children in Sidon to obtain education is the top priority of the agency, which is seeking every means to achieve this as soon as circumstances allow.
On Sept. 14, a cease-fire agreement was reached between conflicting factions after the latest wave of violence in the camp claimed about 20 lives and injured more than 150 since Sept. 7.
Between July 29 and Aug. 3, clashes between members of the Palestinian Fatah movement and Islamic activists in the camp killed at least 13 people and injured dozens of others.