Dire situation for children worsens as violence escalates in Gaza and Israel, says Save the Children
Save the Children is calling for an immediate end to the conflict in Gaza and Israel as the number of child casualties mounts.
Families in the Gaza Strip who are used to living in very difficult conditions are now running out of food and water, hospitals are running out of supplies and more than 1.7 million people – half of whom are children – have been trapped in their houses for days, with power outages lasting up to 18 hours a day.
“It is a dangerous and terrifying time for children – who make up nearly half the population of the Gaza Strip,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “Most families have been trapped at home for four days, unable to leave to find basic supplies. With so many children already malnourished and suffering from anemia, the impact on children's health is potentially devastating.”
“There is no clean water so children are going to have to start drinking the polluted tap water soon which is going to cause more severe health problems,” added Miles. “When they fall ill their parents can't take them to the hospital.”
Schools and clinics have been badly affected. Twenty-five schools have been damaged along with two clinics and one hospital. The damage to schools will affect children from both Gaza and Israel as schools will remain closed for the duration of this conflict.
Save the Children has launched an emergency response to the escalating violence.
As soon as it is safe to do so, teams will distribute food, water and shelter materials to families, and vital medicines to hospitals, the aid agency said. It will also set up child spaces with specially trained staff and counsellors to help children cope with their experiences and support basic education to re-start.
“The escalation of violence on top of an already fragile situation is extremely dangerous for children,” said Alex Schein, Save the Children's Country Director. “They are being deeply affected by what they have experienced, and many could need specialist care and support. The fear among adults is unbelievable so you can imagine what it's like for children.”
Save the Children is calling for an immediate and permanent cease-fire.
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in more than 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.