Israel-Gaza ceasefire: Blockade needs to be lifted to avoid humanitarian catastrophe
27th August 2014 - Save the Children welcomes with relief the much-needed ceasefire agreement between the Israeli government and Palestinian representatives. We hope this will be sustained and ensure the wellbeing of children in Gaza and Israel.
Over the last seven weeks, an average of 12 children were killed and 77 were injured every day--25 of whom were left with permanent disabilities. On a daily basis, an average of six schools were shelled, 435 families lost their homes, and 37 children were orphaned. All of Gaza's children, who make up half of the 1.8 million population, need some form of psychosocial support, according to the UN.
"We have seen 50 days of conflict that has put the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe," said Save the Children's David Hassell. "It is only now that Gaza's people can really start to grieve, heal, breathe, and rebuild--and that will only be possible if the crippling blockade is lifted. Now is the chance for the international community to help both sides to agree to ground-breaking changes that will bring enduring peace, security and freedom for both Palestinians and Israelis. Now is the moment to ensure that this will be the last war for children who have already witnessed too many in their most tender years."
Save the Children also urges governments and individuals to be generous in contributing to the urgent reconstruction of Gaza. Schools are still full with people who have been left homeless; hospitals and medical facilities need rebuilding or rehabilitating; water networks have yet to be rebuilt; half of Gaza's children need specialised psychological help.
"Aid is needed now for Gaza to be able to cope with the extent of utter loss and destruction," Mr Hassell said. "We owe it to Gaza's children to give them some sense of normality as an immediate priority."
For interviews, please contact:
Cat Carter in Gaza: +44 (0) 7989 832326, +972 (0) 595941212
David Hassell in Jerusalem: +972 (0) 59 594 4152 or +972 (0) 54 800 2617
Karl Schembri in Amman: +962 (0) 7902 20159