One child in Palestine is killed every hour, according to Save the Children which is a globally leading independent organisation currently working in the West Bank and Gaza.
Entire families are being displaced in Gaza as the bloodshed continues and at least 70,000 children have been forced to move out of their homes due to the violence present in their home while the number of children who require medical support was also rapidly rising and is currently at 116,000.
One organisation – Save the Children – is taking action to stop the constant terror faced daily by citizens and address the immediate humanitarian and long-term development needs of children and adults.
Save the Children staff, along with their local partners, is working in areas that are under attack to deliver lifesaving medical supplies. Displaced families are now being catered with mattresses, hygiene kits, shelter items and baby care supplies but despite their best efforts the continuous influx of people cannot be catered for.
Dr Raed Sabbah, Director of the Union of Health Work Committees, reports that schools hosting thousands of the displaced are facing extreme water shortages, and families are struggling to find adequate food for babies and children. Hospitals, clinics and health facilities have been hit, and at least 90 schools have been damaged.
“We have witnessed many premature births as a result of the fear and psychological disorders caused by the military offensive,” said Dr Yousif Al Swaiti, the Director of our partner Al Awda Hospital. Dr Yousif and his staff have worked more than 1,000 hours overtime to cope with the inrush of patients. “The number of cases of premature births per day has doubled, compared to the average daily rate before the escalation.”
Save the Children is stepping up its response to provide water to displaced families and rehabilitate vital water infrastructure and schools. It is also scaling up its counseling services for children.
As civilian infrastructure continues to come under attack, it cannot be stressed enough how all sides must immediately restrain from targeting or using civilian infrastructure for any non-civilian purposes.
But Gaza needs much more than this emergency response.
“We hear the people of Gaza telling us things cannot go back to how they were before the current violence started. We’ve been there before and we cannot go there again.”
“We’re seeing years of work being undone with every explosion, be it civilian infrastructure or the emotional well-being of children we’ve worked with since the previous escalations,” said Save the Children’s David Hassell.
“It is never proportionate to attack schools and hospitals when so many civilians have nowhere else to go. While no party should use these for military purposes, we deplore the use of force we have seen over the past few days.”
Now, Save the Children calls on the international community to respond to the on-going war on children and end the bloodshed and to get the warring parties to agree to long-term measures that will stop the cycle of violence.
“If the international community does not take action now, the unfolding war on children in Gaza will haunt our generation forever,” Mr Hassell said.