UNICEF Says Children Suffering In Gaza Conflict

As hostilities in Gaza continue, the number of kids that are dying is rising. So far the number of Palestinians that have been killed is 1,100 and roughly 245 of those deaths were children.

Approximately 2,000 children have been injured in Gaza where more than half the population is under 18.

“The physical and psychological toll that the violence is having on people is almost indescribable. We see children killed, injured, mutilated and burnt, in addition to being terrified to their core. The consequences run much deeper than previous flare-ups,” says Pernille Ironside, Chief of the UNICEF field office in Gaza

Lasting scars

For many kids their childhood is being destroyed and it is likely that these children will end up bearing lasting physical and emotional scars as they endure the third outbreak of violence in six years.

“Usually, children are quite resilient and bounce back, but when they go through too many violent episodes, the violence itself becomes the new normal; they are likely to repeat it themselves in later life,” says Bruce Grant, UNICEF Chief of Child Protection for State of Palestine.

There are an estimated 200,000 children that require psychosocial support immediately. UNICEF has deployed Five emergency psychosocial support teams who are reaching out to children who have lost loved ones or been injured in order to provide them with the skills to cope.

Schools under attack

Roughly 44 per cent of Gaza is now a no-go area. Ten per cent of the population or 173,000 people are seeking shelter in United Nations run schools, though nowhere in Gaza appears to be safe any more. Recently a UNRWA school was bombed killing a total of 15 people of which 6 were children. This was the third time a UN run school has been directly attacked.

Air strikes have damaged 130 schools so far. Another school was allegedly used by armed groups in Gaza to store rockets, disregarding the neutrality of schools.

Approximately 10,000 people have sought shelter in public schools, the majority of which are children.

Hygiene kits are being distributed by UNICEF for babies and adults in public schools. In collaboration with the World Food Programme, UNICEF has also given over 1,300 families electronic vouchers which can be used to purchase food and water at local shops.

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