The threat of famine is intensifying in Gaza

 

UNICEF and its partners are on the ground in Gaza delivering immediate humanitarian support

 

The ongoing surge of hostilities in the State of Palestine and Israel is taking a horrendous toll on the lives of children and their families. 
 
They need help to survive the crisis.

 

After almost 100 days of violence, children in Gaza face a lethal triple threat: death from bombardment, disease and lack of food. UNICEF is pushing for safe, expanded access to deliver more emergency supplies. 

 

“In every war, the ones who suffer the most are children. This is tragically true today."

Since Oct. 7, more than 22,000 people — including 8,000 children — have been killed in Gaza. 


As the situation for children in Gaza deteriorates rapidly, hundreds of trucks carrying urgently needed humanitarian aid remain stuck at the border for weeks, stranded between insufficient access corridors and protracted layers of a slow and unpredictable inspection process. 

 

 

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007, severely restricting the movement of goods and people. Before Oct. 7, 2023, most of the population already relied on humanitarian aid; 500 trucks entered Gaza daily, carrying essential supplies. Last week, an average of just 129 trucks a day were cleared for entry, according to UN figures, far fewer than what is needed to meet the growing needs of a population trapped in a war zone.

 

UNICEF is delivering emergency aid, but much more help is needed 

 

Between Oct. 21 and Jan. 10, UNICEF moved 308 trucks into Gaza from Egypt, carrying warm winter clothing, tents and tarpaulins and other emergency supplies. In early January, more than 780,000 liters of bottled water delivered by UNICEF were distributed in Khan Younis and Rafah benefitting over 260,064 people including 132,600 children.

 

 

According to UNICEF's latest situation report, in the past week, seven UNICEF trucks brought critical supplies including 10,800 family hygiene kits, water tanks and collapsible tanks for 2,500 people, 577,500 sanitary pads, 69,960 bottles of ready-to-use formula for 500 infants, various medical kits and supplementary foods for 55,000 people.

 

The entire population of Gaza — about 2.2 million people — is experiencing acute levels of food insecurity and is at risk of famine. Every child under age 5 — 335,000 — is at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death. 

 

At least half of all water infrastructure in Gaza has been severely damaged by attacks since Oct 7. Without access to safe water, children are particularly susceptible to diarrhea and other communicable diseases. With nearly 85 percent of the population displaced and living in overcrowded conditions without adequate access to sanitation and hygiene, disease outbreaks are a major risk factor. 

On Dec. 29, UNICEF delivered 600,000 doses of routine vaccinations to southern Gaza, providing a crucial lifeline for children. 

 

Even wars have rules. No child should be cut off from essential services, nor fall from the reach of humanitarian hands. No child should be held hostage or used by any means in armed conflict. Hospitals and schools must be protected from bombings, and they must not be used for military purposes, in accordance with international humanitarian law. No child should suffer the threat of bombs from their beds.

 

The cost to children and their communities of this violence will be born out for generations to come.

 

Between Oct. 21 and Jan. 10, UNICEF moved 308 trucks into Gaza from Egypt, carrying warm winter clothing, tents and tarpaulins and other emergency supplies. In early January, more than 780,000 liters of bottled water delivered by UNICEF were distributed in Khan Younis and Rafah
 

On Dec. 29, UNICEF delivered 600,000 doses of routine vaccinations to southern Gaza, providing a crucial lifeline for children. "Today, the situation in Gaza is unimaginably stressful for children," said UNICEF's Maulid Warfa. "We do not want to see children who survive the bombing die because they are not vaccinated."

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