Children in the Gaza Strip continue to pay the highest price
Every child, everywhere, deserves peace.
“Throughout the night, we were continuously under bombardment. To keep my 11-year-old girl safe, I made her sleep in the middle of the living room. Despite the circumstances, we are grateful to be alive”, this is how Baha, a father of four from the Gaza Strip reported the situation experienced during the last nights.
Since the terrible events that unfolded in Israel on October 7 and until now in the Gaza Strip, a heart-wrenching catastrophe has taken shape. According to the latest reports, at least 1,400 Israelis were reported killed and more than 5,431 wounded, including children, with many victims still being identified and more than 20 children still abducted. In the Gaza Strip, at least 6,546 Palestinians were reported killed, including more than 2,704 children.
Since that day, children found themselves caught in a relentless storm of hostilities and violence. The numbers of children casualties are increasing by the minute. This is not to mention the significant impact on the mental health of children.
"I want to play with other children, but I am afraid to leave the room. I don’t know how they can play without being scared; I just want to go back home”, says Jannat while she watches other children playing in an UNRWA school playground turned into a shelter. Jannat is one of hundreds of thousands of children who, hand in hand with their families, have been forced to leave their homes in the Gaza Strip.
Nights are filled with unrelenting echoes of explosions which takes its toll on the psychological well-being of children. The longer the escalation of hostilities continues, the more they will be impacted.
At the onset of the crisis and despite the challenging humanitarian and security situation, UNICEF and its partners have continued to be actively present in the Gaza Strip to provide immediate live saving humanitarian support, including delivering medical supplies, water, and essential mental health and psychosocial support.
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Catherine Russell called “for the immediate cessation of hostilities, and for all parties to protect children from harm and afford them the special protection to which they are entitled, in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law “.
In every war, the ones who suffer the most are children. This is tragically true today.