Save the Children is calling for an immediate ceasefire by all parties, as 58 children[i] in Gaza and two children in southern Israel have been killed in the last week. More than a thousand people in Gaza, including 366 children[ii], have also been injured. This amounts to almost three children injured every hour in Gaza since escalations began on the 14th May between Israel and armed groups in Gaza. Dozens of people have been injured in southern Israel as well.
Khaled, 10, in Gaza, told Save the Children:*
“Every time there’s an airstrike we become scared. Every time we try to go out, when we get to the front door, there’s another air strike and we run back inside as fast as we can. Every time I put my head on the pillow, there’s another airstrike and I wake up terrified.”
Life-saving services are at breaking point as power lines have been damaged in the bombardments. Fuel supplies, which are the sole sources of power and electricity in the Gaza Strip, are low and Israel has closed the border through which fuel enters.
Save the Children warns of a triple shock in Gaza. Bombardments are continuing and health facilities and civilian infrastructure could soon be left without the power needed to deliver crucial supplies and emergency treatment. In addition, critically ill and injured children are unable to leave Gaza for treatment.
Many of these services were already on the brink, grappling with a deadly second wave of COVID-19 and limited medical supplies due to the blockade. According to the UN, the latest damage to infrastructure has left 480,000 people in Gaza with limited or no access to water.[iii]
Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director for the occupied Palestinian territory, said:
“Almost 60 children have been killed in Gaza in a week. How many more families need to lose loved ones before the international community takes action? Where can children run to when airstrikes rain down on their homes? Families in Gaza, and our staff, are telling us that they are at breaking point – they are living in hell with nowhere to seek refuge and seemingly no end in sight. Now basic supplies and power are running low, compounding and further fuelling this humanitarian catastrophe.”
Save the Children is calling for the blockade on Gaza to be urgently lifted as children’s lives hang in the balance. The Government of Israel and all parties must allow aid workers to reach children with life-saving support, as well as the unimpeded entry of essential supplies and fuel.
Members of the UN Security Council and the rest of the international community should work with all parties to facilitate an immediate ceasefire.
It is critical to seek a just solution that addresses the underlying causes of this violence, that upholds equal rights for both Palestinian and Israeli children, and that will end the decades-long occupation as the only sustainable resolution to the conflict. This will ensure that all children in the region can live in peace.
[i] Gaza Ministry of Heath update on 16th May, 2021.
[ii] Gaza Ministry of Heath update on 16th May, 2021.
[iii]OCHA report #6, 16th May, 2021: “The North Gaza Seawater Desalination Plant is not operational for the fifth successive day, which undermines the access of about 250,000 people to drinking water. For the third successive day, about 230,000 people from Gaza city and Khan Younis have limited access to piped water, due to increasing power cuts and damaged networks.”
Notes to editors:
Save the Children is one of the largest non-governmental organisations working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip addressing the immediate humanitarian and long-term development needs of children and adults. We have over 30 years of experience on the ground and currently implement programs in the areas of education, child protection, livelihoods and economic opportunities, and psychosocial health. We also provide water and sanitation services and health and nutrition services to women and children.