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UNICEF: Number of child casualties still rising in Gaza

Humanitarian situation is desperate

JERUSALEM/NEW YORK, 9 January 2009 - The number of children being killed and injured in the fighting in Gaza continues to climb and the humanitarian situation is becoming more desperate every day.

According to figures cited by OCHA today, there have been 758 Palestinian deaths since December 27 , out of which 257 were children and 56 were women. At least, 3,100 have been injured including 1,080 children and 452 women.

"Nowhere is safe for children and their families in Gaza at the moment," said Patricia McPhillips, UNICEF Representative in oPt. "There needs to be an end to hostilities so we can truck in urgently required water, medicine and other life-saving assistance for children. And until the fighting ends, safe spaces must be created in Gaza so we can deliver our prepositioned supplies," she added.

Over the past three days, during the 3-hour humanitarian truces, UNICEF supplies in Gaza have been distributed but need to be immediately replenished. Two UNICEF flights with humanitarian supplies have arrived in the region and more are expected.

The resumption of UNRWA's operations in Gaza today is welcome but UNICEF staff reported an escalation of fighting in Gaza which is limiting their access to the population.



UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information, please contact:

Patrick McCormick, Tel: +1 917 582 7546, Email: pmccormick@unicef.org
Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, Regional Chief of Communication, UNICEF MENA; Tel: +9626 550 2407; Mobile: +96279 700 4567, arghandour@unicef.org

Broadcast quality footage from Gaza available at www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef




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