The Gaza Strip is today “the most dangerous place in the world for a child”, the head of UNICEF denounced on Wednesday before the UN Security Council, judging that humanitarian breaks are “not sufficient” to stop this “carnage”.
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“More than 5,300 Palestinian children are believed to have been killed in just 46 days, that’s 115 children a day, every day, for weeks and weeks,” said Catherine Russell, after a visit to the southern Gaza Strip.
“According to these figures, children represent 40% of deaths in Gaza. This is unprecedented. In other words, the Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world for a child,” she added, also referring to 1,200 children missing, some probably under the rubble of bombings.
Beyond the direct victims of the fighting, she was concerned about the epidemic risks, in the virtual absence of drinking water, particularly for newborns, and the impacts on malnutrition.
“Children in Gaza are in extreme danger due to catastrophic living conditions. One million children — all the territory’s children — face food insecurity, which could soon become a catastrophic crisis linked to malnutrition,” she warned.
“We estimate that in the coming months, wasting, the most dangerous form of malnutrition for the lives of children, could increase by almost 30% in Gaza.”
“For children to survive, for humanitarian workers to be able to stay and act, humanitarian breaks are simply not enough,” insisted the head of UNICEF, welcoming, however, the agreement announced between Israel and Hamas for the release of hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a four-day truce.
“UNICEF calls for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire to put an immediate end to this carnage.”
The head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Natalia Kanem, for her part, expressed concern about the fate of pregnant women in the Gaza Strip and their future babies.
“Amidst the fighting and devastation, in Gaza there are currently 500 pregnant women expected to give birth in the coming month.
Every day, around 180 women give birth in appalling conditions, the future of their newborns is uncertain,” she said.
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