‘Futures shattered’: More than 13 million war children out of school in Mideast – CNN

(CNN)As conflicts escalate in the Middle East and Africa, more than 13 million students are not getting an education as schools caught in the crossfires shut down, the United Nations said.

In a report Thursday on the effects of wars on education, the world body focused on nine nations and territories.

It said in some cases, children are coming under fire or going through active frontlines just to get to class. Teachers have quit their jobs while some parents are opting to keep their children at home.

Even teachers have fled to other nations, where they live as refugees, the report said.

“Attacks on schools and education infrastructure — sometimes deliberate — are one key reason why many children do not attend classes,” the U.N. children’s fund said in a statement.

Generation of shattered dreams

    In Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya, about 9,000 schools have been damaged and destroyed, and are now converted into shelters for the displaced, it said.

    Some students have fled to neighboring Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, overloading already overburdened systems. More than 700,000 children who’ve escaped to those nations are unable to attend school, the United Nations said.

    The damage is not limited to buildings, said Peter Salama, the regional director for the U.N.’s children fund..

    “It’s not just the physical damage being done to schools, but the despair felt by a generation of schoolchildren who see their hopes and futures shattered,” he said.

    The report urged the nations involved to expand and certify informal education and support education systems in conflict regions. It focused on Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and the Palestinian territories.

    Migrants pour into Europe

    The report comes as desperate migrants and refugees fleeing war and poverty continued to pour into Europe, only to face backlash in some countries. Most have made the perilous journey in the Mediterranean using overcrowded boats.

    The number of refugees and migrants who have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year has surpassed 2,600, according to the International Organization for Migration. It said about 264,500 had successfully arrived in Europe by last month.

    As the patchwork of European Union nations struggles to come up with a consensus on the plight of refugees — Italy, Germany and France sought a united response.

    The nations’ respective foreign ministers presented the European Union with a joint document calling for a revision of asylum rules and a fairer distribution of refugees, according to the Italian Foreign Ministry.

    The effort comes as the photo of a toddler’s lifeless body — one of 12 people who drowned off Turkey and washed up on a beach — has come to symbolize the gravity of the crisis.

    The boy and his family were Kurds from Syria trying to reach family in Vancouver, British Columbia, CNN partner CTV reported.

    Three members of one family died: The boy, Aylan Kurdi, 3; his brother, Galip, and their mother, Rehen, according to Fin Donnelly, a Canadian member of parliament.

    Tired and weak

    The surge does not appear to be lessening any time soon.

    Another batch of refugees arrives in the German city of Munich with almost every train that pulls up.

    Tired, hungry and weak from the heat, they speak of a harrowing journey — and the joy of escaping the bloody chaos in their nations.

    In Syria, cities lie in rubble while South Sudan is ravaged by war and poverty.

    In Libya, warlords maraud and people suffer while in Iraq, ISIS is running amok and videotaping its slaughter of innocents.

    Unwelcome guests

    But authorities in some European nations are denying the migrants entry. Hundreds wait.

    Hungary, a transit point for migrants trying to make their way north, has responded to the crisis by erecting a fence along its border with Serbia.

    Germany has been more accepting of asylum seekers, but political leaders there have had to contend with xenophobic protests.

    And in France, thousands of migrants have tried to enter the United Kingdom through a French terminal near Calais. Instead, they are stuck at a makeshift camp on the French coast.