Children in Gaza bearing brunt of on-going conflict

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Medics care for children injured in airstrikes in Rafah, south Gaza. Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

Nearly 400 Palestinian children have been killed and over 2,500 wounded in Gaza as a result of airstrikes and shelling by Israeli defence forces, according to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF.

The agency points out that almost 70 per cent of the children killed in Gaza were below the age of 12 with the youngest victim being only one month old.

UNICEF says children in Gaza have witnessed unprecedented high levels of violence, death and destruction and estimates that nearly 400,000 require specialized psychosocial support as a result of the trauma they have suffered.

Pernille Ironside who heads the UNICEF office in Gaza says UN shelters housing displaced Palestinians are overcrowded and the risk of disease outbreaks looms large due to lack of adequate sanitation facilities.

"There is not a single family in the Gaza strip who has not been touched through direct loss of a loved one , having their homes demolished or now being amongst the quarter of a million people out of the 1.8 million people who are displaced. The best thing that could be done for children is that there is permanent ceasefire, that ends the violence once and for all and that there are assurances as well of a package whereby Gaza's closure would be lifted. This is truly the best thing for all children here and their families."

Ms Ironside says the one month Israeli military offensive in Gaza is the worst ever in human cost but also with unprecedented and extensive damage to homes, schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1.39″

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