The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday deplored all acts of violence against Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip.
“In the last 10 days, three children were killed and dozens more were seriously injured in the recent tragic events in the Gaza Strip,” UNICEF’s Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaer, said in a statement released in Lebanon’s Beirut.
“Children in Gaza have been living in extremely dire circumstances for many years,” Cappelaer’s statement added.
“It is imperative that all actors on all sides put the protection of children first,” he stressed, addressing the international community.
Children, the UN official reiterated, should never be the target of violence and must not be put at risk of violence nor encouraged to participate in violence.
“These latest developments compound an already acute crisis in the Gaza Strip, where families have been coping with less than five hours of electricity per day for almost a year,” the statement noted.
Among young people who have experienced armed conflict over the last decade, unemployment is above 60 per cent, the UN organisation pointed out. “Only 10 per cent of families in the Gaza Strip have regular direct access to drinking water. One in four children (250,000) are in need of psychosocial support due to past trauma and more than half of children depend on some form of assistance for their daily survival.”
UNICEF explained that the increase in recent events has exacerbated the acute crisis experienced by the Gaza people. “UNICEF was able yesterday to deliver long-awaited critical health supplies into Gaza and advised parents on how to seek psychosocial support and trauma counselling for their children, and continues to support health, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection services.”