News / Middle East

UN Concerned About Children in Israel-Hamas Conflict

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, mourners gather around the graves of members of the Najam family, killed overnight in an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip.
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 file photo, mourners gather around the graves of members of the Najam family, killed overnight in an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip.
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says that children in Gaza are traumatized as a result of the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians. Nearly 400,000 need immediate psychosocial support to help them deal with their distress.  

Half of Gaza's 1.8 million people are children under the age of 18.  UNICEF says the month-long war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is having a catastrophic effect on them and their families.
 
According to UNICEF, more than 400 Palestinian children have been killed - nearly one-third of the civilian casualties.  In addition, more than 2,700 children reportedly have been wounded.
 
Pernille Ironside, who runs the organization's field office in Gaza says children over the age of seven already have lived through two wars-in 2008 and 2012.
 
In a telephone briefing from Gaza, Ironside said the toll in lives and physical infrastructure in this conflict is far greater than in the two previous wars combined.
 
"There is not a single family in Gaza Strip who has not been touched through direct loss of a loved one, injury, having their homes demolished or now being amongst the quarter of a million people out of the 1.8 million people who are displaced," Ironside said.

Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.
x
Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.
Palestinian Salwa Shabat, right, accompanied by some of her children, from left to right, Amira, Huda, top, Ahmed and Anas, weep as they inspect the damage upon returning to the family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun.

Ironside said the children of Gaza show symptoms of increased distress, including bed wetting, clinging to parents and nightmares.  She said they cannot count on their parents giving them that help when, they, themselves are barely able to function.
 
Although Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, is critical of Israel's military actions in Gaza, she also finds fault with Hamas. Pillay said she understands Israel's concerns and its need to protect its people.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

She condemns Hamas' rocket attacks against Israel because they are indiscriminate and traumatize the civilian population.  Pillay said she is  particularly concerned by the effect they have on children, adding that Israeli children have as much right to life as do Gaza children.
 
Ironside said Israel's bombing of Gaza's power plant has knocked out the territory's electricity and ability to pump clean water - meaning there is little water for sanitation. Children living in shelters are now suffering from skin conditions, scabies, lice and other communicable diseases, Ironside told reporters.
 
She said the situation is even worse for people outside the shelters.
 
"They are in a terrible state in terms of being able to access any kind of clean drinking water that is not contaminated by sewage," she said.  "And, this is an urgent concern that could lead potentially to diarrhea and the further death of children, particularly those who are under the age of five."
 
Ironside noted that Israeli airstrikes have taken a very heavy toll on schools in Gaza - where at least 142 schools, including 89 U.N. schools, have been damaged.  However she agreed that Hamas must share the blame because it stored rockets in three U.N. schools, which is forbidden.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 06, 2014 4:53 PM
Stop The War Palestine and Israel


by: Dr. Masta Marina from: Finland
August 05, 2014 4:34 PM
not surprisingly the UN is not as concerned about 250,000 massacred in Syria... Iraq... Lebanon... Libya... Egypt... Nigeria... many of whose children have been gassed to death... hacked to death... sexually mutilated to death... UN hypocrisy has become a cruel joke

In Response

by: Faiyaz Ahmed S M from: india
August 06, 2014 5:11 AM
What's the point you wish to make? Do you mean that UN shouldn't talk about Gaza children since it didn't deal with those affected in other turmoils. What you need to say is UN should deal with fallouts in other areas too instead of belittling what it is doing in Gaza.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid