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More than 80 children killed in Gaza conflict

More than a million people in Gaza require urgent humanitarian assistance

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 July 2014 – As the conflict in Gaza continues, children and families continue to suffer the brunt of the siege.

The Palestinian death toll has increased to more than 375 yesterday, including at least 270 civilians, of whom 83 are children and 36 women. The Gaza conflict has seen almost 1000 children among the more than 3000 Palestinians injured thus far, adding pressure to healthcare facilities that lack adequate medicines and medical support.

In addition to physical injuries, more than 70, 000 children require urgent counselling to deal with death, injury and loss due to the ongoing conflict.

“UNICEF is deeply disturbed by the conflict, particularly its impact on children and families in Gaza. Together with our partners, UNICEF staff have been working round-the-clock to get through to children in need and have been witness to the shocking toll of the ongoing violence on children, both physically and psychologically,” said Ms. Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Representative to Malaysia.

Following an escalation in hostilities, more than 100, 000 people have fled their homes, with 84, 000 children, women and men seeking shelter in schools.

Adding to the challenges facing citizens in Gaza, the city’s crumbling water and sanitation infrastructure has sustained damage, raising the risk of water-borne disease. Some 1.2 million people have no or very limited access to water or sanitation services, and around half of the sewage pumping and waste water treatment systems are no longer functioning.

UNICEF and its partners are procuring essential pediatric drugs for hospitals and health facilities and child protection teams are helping children and their caregivers cope with the psychological distress. Radio spots have begun warning children and families about the dangers of unexploded ordnance.

However, the rapid depletion of stocks, along with bombardments and access restrictions in urban areas, are increasingly challenging efforts by humanitarian agencies to supply food, water, mattresses and hygiene items to those displaced. With the increasing number of casualties, UNICEF urges all parties to meet their legal and moral obligation to protect civilians including children from harm.

"Children who are affected by this conflict need urgent assistance," added Ms. Belmonte. "We're particularly concerned about their health and safety, due to the ongoing violence and its impact on emergency services. To help children overcome the shock and trauma of what they've witnessed, they also need safe and protected spaces to be able to play and resume studying – it’s one way of reconnecting them to a familiar and grounding routine, even in the midst of conflict."

In response to the conflict in Gaza, UNICEF Malaysia has launched the "Gaza Children’s Appeal" to respond to the needs of the children and families affected. Those who wish to donate to the Appeal in Ringgit Malaysia can visit www.helpunicef.my to make a secure online donation via credit card; or issue a crossed cheque or bank transfer payable to 'UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN'S FUND-EMERGENCY'. For more information, call (03) 2092 5812 or (03) 2095 9154.

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For further information, please contact:

Sasha Surandran,
UNICEF, Manila
+6019 658 5160
ssurandran@unicef.org

Catherine Weibel,
UNICEF Jerusalem
+972 54 778 7604
cweibel@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

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