Gaza ‘Most Dangerous Place in the World’ for Children – UNICEF

Gaza reels under new massacres carried out by the Israeli army. (Photo: Waleed Musleh, via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

A UNICEF official has said that “the Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.”

“More than 5,300 Palestinian children have been reportedly killed in just 46 days … or over 115 a day, every day, for weeks and weeks,” said Catherine Russell, the Executive Director of the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Russell was addressing the UN Security Council briefing on the protection of children in Gaza, on Wednesday.

“Based on these figures, children account for 40 percent of the deaths in Gaza. This is unprecedented,” she added.  “In other words, the Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child.”

Russell said the effects of the violence perpetrated on children have been catastrophic, indiscriminate and disproportionate.

She stressed that one million children – or really all children inside the territory – are now food insecure; “facing what could soon become a catastrophic nutrition crisis.”

“We project that over the next few months, child wasting, the most life-threatening form of malnutrition in children, could increase by nearly 30 percent in Gaza,” Russell explained.

She condemned “the devastating attacks” on hospitals and schools in Gaza, saying that “with thousands of displaced people sheltering in health facilities, I cannot emphasize this point enough.”

Close to 90 percent of all school buildings have been damaged with nearly 80 percent of remaining school facilities being used as shelters for the internally displaced.

“But even these spaces, where children and families have sought safety after fleeing their homes, have come under attack,” she said.

Russell welcomed the limited ceasefire agreement, but called for “extended humanitarian pauses and corridors in Gaza … which I hope will be urgently implemented, so that humanitarian partners can reach civilians in need – especially children.” 

She further said UNICEF is strongly opposed to the establishment of so-called ‘safe zones’ as “no place is safe in the Gaza Strip.”

The UN official also expressed concern about reports of increasing numbers of displaced children who have been separated from their families along evacuation corridors to the south, or who are otherwise arriving unaccompanied to hospitals. “These children are especially vulnerable,” she said. 

Further military escalation in the south of Gaza would exponentially worsen the humanitarian situation there, she added, causing additional displacement, and squeezing the civilian population into an even smaller area.

“Attacks on the south must be avoided,” she said.

She urged the Security Council members “to do everything in your power to end this catastrophe for children.”

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israel has, thus far, killed over 14,532 Palestinians, including nearly 6,000 children. 7,000 Palestinians are missing, including more than 4,700 women and children.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out