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

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.