Monday, March 4, 2024

UNICEF warns Israeli restrictions on aid delivery death sentence for Gaza children

The United Nations children's agency has strongly slammed Israel's complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, which is under a war since early October, calling it a death sentence for children in the coastal territory.

Adele Khodr, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, made the comment on Saturday, while explaining about the dire humanitarian situation across Gaza.

“Our team on the ground describes meeting children with missing limbs and third-degree burns, and children left shell-shocked by the continuing violence that surrounds them,” Khodr stated.

Reflecting on the impact of Israel’s total siege of Gaza on children, the UNICEF official said, “Close to one million children have been forcibly displaced from their homes, pushed into tiny, overcrowded areas without water, food, or protection, putting them at increased risk of respiratory infections and waterborne diseases.”

She described Israel’s restrictions on delivering lifesaving aid into the Gaza Strip as “another death sentence for children”, adding that the quantities of aid entering the blockaded territory “are far from adequate, and the challenges have been intensified due to ongoing Israeli bombing and fuel shortages.”

Khodr stressed that an immediate, long-lasting humanitarian ceasefire is the only solution to end the suffering of children and civilians in Gaza, affirming that it is crucial to protect civilians and enable the delivery of urgently needed lifesaving aid.

“Humanitarian aid must be allowed [to enter Gaza] at a scale to prevent further suffering. UNICEF and humanitarian organizations must have safe access to all children and their families wherever they are in the Gaza Strip, including in the north,” Khodr noted.

Stressing the need for the international community to take swift action on the situation in Gaza, the UNICEF official said, “The world is watching, helpless and devastated – we cannot act quickly enough. This must stop immediately.”

Israel launched its devastating war of genocide against Gaza on October 7 following a surprise operation by the territory’s resistance groups, dubbed Operation al-Aqsa Storm.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced on Saturday that the regime’s onslaught has killed 17,700 people so far with 48,780 others injured.

The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter to notify the world body’s Security Council about the threat that has been posed to international peace and security as a result of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza.

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