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Cash for U.N. averts Palestinian school closures

Last-minute donations to the U.N. avert the closures of schools attended by half a million Palestinian students

Published: Updated:

Last-minute donations of some $70 million helped avert the closures of schools attended by half a million students, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Wednesday.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency had warned a $101 million deficit would force it to delay the start of the school year in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. Jordan has said it can't absorb the overflow because its schools are crowded with Syrian refugees.

Agency chief Pierre Kraehenbuehl said that contributions arrived over the past week from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Britain and Sweden. They helped reduce the shortfall to $22 million.

The spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the donations safeguard the education of 500,000 students at U.N. schools across the Middle East.