Saturday, May 25, 2024

Children face shattered lives in Gaza: UNRWA

At least 17,000 children in the besieged coastal enclave are unaccompanied or separated from their families, according to the United Nations agency for the Palestinian refugees.

“With [more than] 70 percent of houses damaged or destroyed, most [children] have also lost their homes,” UNRWA said in a post on X.

“Schools have become shelters for surviving, not for education. Their future needs protecting,” it added.

Children are paying the highest toll in the ongoing Israeli war, now nearing its seventh month, UNRWA warned.

“What more to endure? Death, hunger, disease, displacement, [and] now living in greenhouses-like structures under scorching heat,” UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini stated.

More than 14,000 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war in early October 2023, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Catherine Russell has recently stated.

“Thousands have been injured and thousands more are on the brink of famine,” she said during a news conference in New York in mid-April.

In a separate statement, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women announced that “one child is injured or dies every 10 minutes” in Gaza. The statement added that more than 10,000 women have been killed in Gaza since the war began, and 6,000 of them left 19,000 orphaned children behind.

Israel has waged a military offensive on Gaza since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas last October which killed nearly 1,200 people.

Nearly 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed and 77,500 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the seaside enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while much of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered it to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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