Saturday, May 25, 2024

UN warns majority of Rafah’s 600,000 children face injury, illness, malnutrition, trauma, disabilities

The United Nations has issued a stark warning on the potential consequences of an Israeli military ground operation in the city of Rafah, emphasizing the grave threat it poses to the lives of some 600,000 children in the city in Gaza.

Citing reports from UNICEF, the UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq at a news conference said a military operation into Rafah “would bring catastrophe on top of catastrophe” for the children there.

Echoing UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell’s sentiments that emphasized the dire conditions faced by the children of Rafah, Haq stated “nearly all of the some 600,000 children in Rafah are either injured, sick, malnourished, traumatized, or living with disabilities”.

Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) stressed the precarious state of healthcare facilities in Rafah, revealing that three out of the 12 hospitals in Gaza that are still partially functioning are located in the region.

WHO warned that these facilities “will quickly become non-functional if there’s a military incursion into Rafah, and then a full scale military operation into Rafah could lead to a bloodbath”, Haq continued.

He also stated that the convoy carrying humanitarian aid from Jordan was attacked by “civilians” in the occupied West Bank, and some items were damaged. Haq noted that the convoy later reached Gaza.

Saying that upon convoy’s arrival to Gaza it was redirected to a different facility instead of the previously designated location by an armed group, Haq added this issue was addressed through discussions with local authorities to resolve the misunderstanding.

Haq expressed confirmation of the local authorities’ respect for humanitarian aid convoys, stating that the convoys reached their destinations and that aid distribution was ongoing.

Emphasizing that the redirection to a different facility was purely a communication error, he said it was promptly corrected, adding that officials in Gaza confirmed that such incidents would not recur.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 Hamas incursion, which killed less than 1,200 people.

Tel Aviv, in comparison, has killed more than 34,650 Palestinians and wounded nearly 77,900 amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities in the Palestinian territory.

Nearly seven months into the Israeli onslaught, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement besides a crippling blockade on food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in January issued an interim ruling that ordered Tel Aviv to prevent genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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