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Gaza turning into 'graveyard of children,' says UNICEF

October 31, 2023 at 1:56 pm

An injured Palestinian child and his mother cry in the Al-Najjar Hospital as Israeli attacks continue on the 24th day in Rafah, Gaza on October 30, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, on Tuesday raised the alarm over the rising number of child deaths in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, when Israel-Palestine tensions flared into an armed conflict, Anadolu Agency reports.

Our gravest fears about the reported numbers of children killed, going from dozens into hundreds into thousands have been realised in just a fortnight

UNICEF spokesperson, James Elder, told a UN press briefing in Geneva, lamenting that the death toll among minors had exceeded 3,450.

“Staggeringly, this number rises significantly every single day,” Elder warned, saying that Gaza “has become a graveyard of children. It is a living hell for everyone else.”

Elder reiterated UNICEF’s call for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access to supplies for the enclave, saying children in Gaza are dying not only due to airstrikes, but also because of lack of needed medical care.

“And yet the threats to children go beyond bombs,” he said, underling that water and trauma were among other threats faced in besieged Palestinian enclave.

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He warned that more than 1 million children of Gaza faced a critical water crisis as Gaza’s daily water output was at 5 per cent of its production capacity.

“So, child deaths to dehydration, particularly infant deaths to dehydration, are a growing threat,” he said.

On trauma, the spokesperson said:

When finally the fighting stops the cost to children and their communities are going to be borne out for generations to come

Elder stressed that, before the current conflict began, more than 800,000 children in Gaza — three quarters of its entire child population — were identified as in need of mental health and psychological support.

Since last weekend the Israeli army has widened its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip – including houses and hospitals – which has been under relentless airstrikes since the surprise offensive by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on 7 October.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the Gaza conflict, including 8,306 Palestinians and more than 1,538 Israelis, and also including 3,457 children in Gaza, according to official figures.

An Israeli blockade of the Strip has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a small trickle unable to satisfy the needs of the over 2 million Palestinians there.

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