Statement by Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa on the continued killing and injuring of children in the Gaza Strip and the humanitarian situation

09 December 2023
UNICEF Black Banner
UNICEF

AMMAN, 9 December 2023 – “The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Scores of children are reportedly being killed and injured on a daily basis.  Entire neighborhoods, where children used to play and go to school have been turned into stacks of rubble, with no life in them.

“UNICEF and other humanitarian actors have been ringing the alarm for weeks. Our team on the ground describe meeting children with missing limbs and third-degree burns, and children left shell-shocked by the continuing violence that surrounds them.

“Close to one million children have been forcibly displaced from their homes. They are now being pushed further and further south into tiny, overcrowded areas without water, food, or protection, putting them at increased risk of respiratory infections and waterborne disease. Their lives are further threatened by dehydration, malnutrition and disease. 

“The restrictions and challenges being placed on the delivery of lifesaving aid going into and across the Gaza Strip are another death sentence for children. The quantities going in are nowhere near adequate compared to the level of need, and aid distribution has become an ever-greater challenge due to bombing and lack of fuel. The humanitarian system is buckling, particularly under the extreme strain caused by the measures imposed after the end of the ceasefire, as the population is pushed further into despair.

“An immediate, long-lasting humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to end the killing and injuring of children, the only way that civilians can be protected, and the only way to enable the urgent delivery of desperately needed lifesaving aid.

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

“The world is watching, helpless and devastated – we cannot act quickly enough. This must stop immediately.”

Media contacts

Ammar Ammar
Regional Chief of Advocacy and Communication
UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office
Tel: 00962791837388
Kurtis Cooper
Communication Specialist
UNICEF New York
Tel: 0019174761435

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/mena

Follow UNICEF on  Twitter   Facebook   Instagram   LinkedIn   Youtube

 

Join our UNICEF MENA WhatsApp group to get the latest news. Send us a text message at the following number and we'll add you to our list: 00962790082531