The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continues to express its concern over the Israel-Hamas war, stating that the devastating effects on children in Gaza are reaching catastrophic levels. UNICEF spokesman James Elder addressed reporters in Geneva, emphasizing that Gaza has tragically become a graveyard for thousands of children, creating a living nightmare for everyone else in the region. According to Elder, more than 3,450 children in Gaza have already lost their lives, and this number continues to rise daily.
This announcement comes as Israel escalates its ground offensive in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks that occurred on October 7, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,400 individuals. The conflict has not only claimed innocent lives but has also severely impacted Gaza’s water system, leading to an overall death toll of over 8,000 in the territory.
Elder highlighted that the threats faced by children extend beyond bombs and mortars. The conflict has significantly reduced Gaza’s water production capacity to just 5% of its normal level, endangering the lives of more than 1 million children who are at risk of dehydration. Desperate for water, many children have resorted to drinking salty water, resulting in illness and further complications.
Even before the latest war between Israel and Hamas, over three-fourths of Gaza’s children required mental health support due to the trauma they experienced. Elder expressed concern that the long-lasting effects of the conflict on children and their communities will continue for generations to come.
Given the nightmarish circumstances that Gaza’s children are enduring, the UNICEF spokesperson called for an end to Israel’s siege on the territory. He urged the opening of all access crossings into Gaza to ensure the safe passage of vital resources such as food, water, fuel, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid. Elder warned of the dire consequences if a ceasefire is not achieved, emphasizing that without access to water, medicine, and the release of abducted children, innocent children will face even greater horrors.
In response, Israel’s government criticized the UN for allegedly failing to condemn the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7. Gilad Erdan, West Jerusalem’s ambassador to the UN, announced that members of his delegation would wear yellow stars, symbolizing the labels Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust. He stated that this act would serve as a reminder of the consequences of staying silent in the face of evil.
The situation in Gaza remains dire, with innocent children continuing to bear the brunt of the Israel-Hamas conflict. UNICEF’s call for a humanitarian ceasefire and urgent support for the children of Gaza is crucial to prevent further loss of life and to address the long-term consequences of the trauma they have endured.