More than 2,500 Palestinian children and at least six Israeli children have been injured in a conflict marked by indiscriminate violence and a lack of respect for humanitarian pauses. Three hundred and ninety-two children have been killed in Gaza—nearly 70% under the age of 12.
Violence has displaced thousands of families inside Gaza, including 242,000 children. Many have sought refuge in U.N.-run schools operating as shelters. Eigthy-nine U.N.-run schools in Gaza and two schools in Israel have been damaged.
Water and sanitation are now a major concern, following serious damage to Gaza's only power plant. Lack of clean water increases the risk of water-borne diseases, and diarrhea cases among children have now gone up.
Following weeks of violence, children are showing symptoms of growing distress, such as nightmares, bedwetting and clinging to their parents. UNICEF estimates at least 373,000 children will need psychological support to deal with trauma.
A girl transports jerry cans filled with water in the town of Rafah, southern Gaza (July 19, 2014). © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0978/El Baba
Of the last three conflicts in Gaza, this has been the longest, deadliest and most destructive.— June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative in the State of Palestine
Here's how UNICEF is responding:
- Water and sanitation: UNICEF has installed 3 communal water points and has begun distributing 6,000 hygiene kits and 6,000 jerry cans to displaced people sheltering in public schools. UNICEF is also facilitating repairs to water infrastructure.
- Health: UNICEF is providing hospitals with lifesaving drugs and medical supplies, including vaccines and essential pediatric drugs.
- Child protection: Emergency teams have reached more than 1,800 children with emotional and psychological support, and a 24/7 Child Protection Helpline has answered 1,277 calls, including 377 from children.
Read more about UNICEF's response (PDF).
Learn more about the conflict's impact on children (infographic).