No Eid for Gaza’s children
28th July 2014 - Instead of celebration, Gaza's children have woken up to an Eid marked by death and destruction, and no end seems in sight.
Twenty one days into this conflict, children in Gaza are still paying the highest price. One in four Palestinians killed in the conflict are children, and a child is killed on average almost every hour. Instead of playing in the streets as they normally do when celebrating the end of Ramadan, thousands of children in Gaza are mourning their parents at the graveyards, hundreds are buried with their families. Instead of experiencing the joy of Eid, these children are now facing uncertainty and despair.
At least 194,000 children in Gaza now need specialised psychological support, many having witnessed family deaths, injuries and displacement.
More than 100,000 children have been displaced with their families, the majority of them in schools in which they are meant to continue their education when the academic year starts. A total of 130 schools have been damaged and 22 health facilities have been damaged or destroyed. For Gaza's estimated 45,000 pregnant women of whom 5,000 have been displaced, access to maternity care is extremely restricted. Local organisations report premature births doubling because of the women's trauma.
Thousands of explosive remnants of war are left in civilian areas in Gaza, posing a further major threat to children and their families. Save the Children and local partners are taking every opportunity to reach as many of the affected families as possible, but with no clear commitments for a ceasefire, distributing aid on the ground puts our staff at serious risk.
"Children in Gaza and Israel are paying the price of political failure," said Save the Children's co-country director David Hassell. "The international community has so far also failed these children, through its inability to use all its diplomatic influence to bring about an immediate end to the bloodshed. Ending the violence, as called for by the UN Security Council, is the first and immediate priority. A sustainable solution, ensuring the wellbeing of both Palestinians and Israelis, will require agreement by the parties to long-term measures that address the legitimate grievances of Palestinians, including an end to the blockade.
"Children never start wars, yet they are the ones that are killed, maimed, traumatised and left homeless, terrified and permanently scarred.”
"Save the children will not stop until innocent children are no longer under fire and the root causes of this conflict are addressed. If the international community does not take action now, the violence against children in Gaza will haunt our generation forever."
Save the Children is on the ground in Gaza. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact: Osama Y. Damo in Gaza +972 (0)59 7911 086, Osama.Damo@savethechildren.org