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UN Women Representative: ‘Everyone in Gaza has a harrowing story’

June 24, 2024 at 2:46 pm

A view of a street filled with the rubbles of destroyed buildings following the Israeli attacks on Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Gaza on June 22, 2024. [Dawoud Abo Alkas – Anadolu Agency]

UN Women Special Representative for Palestine, Maryse Guimond, highlighted the devastating impact of the ongoing Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, noting that entire families have been wiped out.

According to the Wafa news agency, she highlighted the significant number of female casualties due to Israeli airstrikes.

“Everyone in Gaza has a harrowing story,” she said in an interview with UN News. “More than 10,000 women have lost their lives” and “over 6,000 families have lost their mothers”.

Moreover, she described the widespread destruction in Gaza, observing extensive tent areas for displaced persons and noting that some people are forced to live in ruined buildings while struggling to access food and water.

“One million women and girls have lost their dignity, homes, families and memories,” she added, while recalling her recent visit to the war-torn region.

“We have been watching the war on television for nine months. We have a team in Gaza and partners we have been in contact with, but I don’t think that gives us the full reality until you find yourself surrounded by the devastation the war has caused from the moment you enter the Strip,” she added.

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Moreover, Guimond noted that women in Gaza frequently asked when the war would end and when they could return to their homes, even though many homes have been destroyed.

She highlighted that women in Gaza face daily challenges in accessing basic services and bear the additional burden of caring for children, the elderly and people with disabilities, whose numbers have increased due to the war.

Guimond further confirmed that “entire families have been wiped out in some Israeli airstrikes”, and shared that everyone she met had extremely harrowing stories.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October has exceeded 37,400, according to the Ministry of Health in the besieged enclave.

More than 85,600 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the Ministry added.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

READ: Israel targeted 69% of schools sheltering displaced people in Gaza: UN agency