The U.N. Children's Fund says 840,000 children in Gaza are under
extreme stress and are traumatized by the violent events of the past
few weeks. UNICEF warns of long-lasting psychological consequences for
thousands of children caught up in the Israeli- Hamas conflict in
Nations reports more than one thousand Palestinians have been killed
and more than 5,000 wounded since the conflict in Gaza began
nearly three weeks ago.
The U.N. Children's Fund says about one
third of those killed and wounded are children. UNICEF Regional
Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Sigrid Kaag, says as
usual children bear the brunt of the hostilities.
"It will be a
long haul in our estimation to really assist children and their
families to rebuild what is left of a normal life under already very
challenging circumstances," she said.
Speaking from Amman,
Jordan, Kaag tells journalists in Geneva the conflict is a disaster for
children on all levels. She says prior to the Israeli military
incursion, the stress level of children was already high. She says
this has only worsened.
She says children daily are exposed to
killings, home demolitions, displacements and house searches. At the
same time, she says, they no longer have access to normal routines such
as schooling and play.
She says the current crisis has
resulted in significant damage to schools and many of those that still
are intact increasingly are being used as shelters for displaced
She says nearly one-half million primary age school
children have no access to education. They have been stripped of their
The UNICEF official says she fears the future generation of children is at risk of becoming a lost generation.
do not want to assume it will create a generation of hate," said Kaage.
"But it definitely - the social trauma, the impact, the loss children
have suffered-be it of a sibling, be it of a parent, be it of their
closest friend, be it their auntie - this is an immense, immense negative
impact on anybody's life, even in the best of circumstances."
says the children, as well as their parents and caregivers, will
require long-term psychological assistance on a massive scale. She
says no quick fix will heal the wounds of children who have been
subjected to such an excess of violence.