UNICEF Chief: Gaza ‘most dangerous place for children’ despite truce

An additional 1,200 children are believed to be still under the rubble of destroyed buildings besides those who are unaccounted for.

The head of UNICEF Catherine Russell on Wednesday said that the besieged Gaza Strip has become “the most dangerous place in the world to be a child,” adding that the hard-won truce deal between “Israel” and the Resistance was insufficient to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

Since the start of the war on Gaza, an estimated 5,300 children have reportedly been killed, which account for 40 percent of total deaths, Russell said during a meeting at the UN Security Council.

“I am haunted by what I saw and heard,” she wrote in a tweet.

Although she welcomed the agreement reached on Wednesday between “Israel” and the resistance, involving the release of captives and a temporary pause to the intense fighting and bombardment in Gaza, she said that it was still not enough to save the lives of people, noting that an immediate humanitarian ceasefire is what is needed to “put a stop to this carnage.”

“For children to survive…, for humanitarian workers to stay and effectively deliver…, humanitarian pauses are simply not enough,” she said.

She said that an additional 1,200 children are believed to be still under the rubble of destroyed buildings besides those who are unaccounted for. 

“In addition to bombs, rockets, and gunfire, Gaza’s children are at extreme risk from catastrophic living conditions,” Russell added.

“One million children — or all children inside the territory — are now food insecure, facing what could soon become a catastrophic nutrition crisis.”

UNICEF predicts that acute malnutrition in children could rise by almost 30 percent in Gaza in the coming months.

Natalia Kanem, the head of UNFPA, who also happened to be present at the meeting, said that 

In her address to the Security Council, Natalia Kanem, the head of the United Nations Population Fund, highlighted the challenges faced by pregnant women in Gaza. She pointed out that approximately 5,500 women are anticipated to give birth in distressing conditions in the coming month.

“At a moment when new life is beginning, what should be a moment of joy is overshadowed by death and destruction, horror and fear,” said Kanem.

Sima Bahous, the leader of UN Women, emphasized that girls and women are encountering unprecedented dangers.

“We have witnessed six rounds of violence in Gaza in the past 15 years, yet the ferocity and destruction that the Gazan people are being forced to endure under our watch has reached an intensity we have never seen before,” she said.

She stated that 67 percent of the casualties in Gaza, up to this point, have been women and children. “That is two mothers killed every hour and seven women every two hours,” she said.

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