War Child: COVID-19 Threatens Fresh Crisis in Gaza

News and Press Release
Originally published

A major COVID-19 outbreak in Gaza threatens to bring about a fresh humanitarian crisis in the crowded enclave. More than 1,500 people have been infected over the past three weeks - with few available resources to counter the spread of the virus. Find out how War Child is working to uphold the wellbeing of children and families as the pandemic expands… Children in Gaza are living in the midst of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis following a major COVID-19 outbreak. Infection cases in the densely populated enclave - home to 1.9 million people - have soared from a mere 13 to over 1,500 over the past three weeks. Authorities are struggling to contain the rapid surge in community transmission. Gaza’s two major hospitals are overwhelmed and many infected people are being housed in 18 overspill quarantine facilities. A further 8,500 people are living in home isolation or home quarantine. Stress levels among Gaza's population are even higher than usual - with children particularly affected. All schools are currently closed and opportunities for home learning are limited. Parents are frequently unable to access laptops and mobile phones for their children to use - and both electricity and internet access are scarce. Economic privations are limiting the ability of families to meet basic childcare needs - with significant negative impacts on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Working to uphold wellbeing

War Child is working with its local partner organisations to uphold the social and emotional wellbeing of families across Gaza. The aid organisation is leading the distribution of hygiene and child care kits directly to children and caregivers at their homes. War Child is also adapting their psychosocial support and awareness-raising activities for delivery over radio and printed materials. The current crisis has also seen parents and caregivers exposed to significant levels of stress - increasing the risk of physical violence against children and domestic violence against caregivers living in home isolation. War Child is actively working to support caregiver wellbeing - including through a series of video animations to support both parents and children to manage stress and difficult emotions. Parents can also access stress-reduction resources via mobile phones as part of our Caregiver Support Intervention. The aid organisation has also expanded their support for children through the adapted TeamUp at Home project.