The United Nations reported that the Gaza Strip has tragically witnessed the loss of thousands of children’s lives.
Israel launched heavy bombardments in response to an incursion by Hamas gunmen on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,400 deaths, predominantly civilians, and the abduction of at least 240 individuals, according to Israeli authorities.
The health ministry in Gaza, under the control of Hamas, indicated that the airstrikes have led to the deaths of more than 8,500 people, primarily civilians.
UNICEF expressed concern that the number of children killed directly by the bombings might be even higher.
In a statement by its spokesman, James Elder UNICEF said, “Our gravest fears about the reported numbers of children killed becoming dozens, then hundreds, and ultimately thousands were realised in just a fortnight.
“The numbers are appalling; reportedly more than 3,450 children killed; staggeringly this rises significantly every day.”
“Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children. It’s a living hell for everyone else.”
According to him, over a million children living in the Gaza Strip were also suffering from a lack of clean water.
“Gaza’s water production capacity is a mere five percent of its usual daily output. Child deaths — particularly infants — to dehydration are a growing threat,” Elder said.
UNICEF is calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, with all access crossings into Gaza opened for the safe, sustained and unimpeded access of humanitarian aid, including water, food, medical supplies, and fuel.
He said, “And if there is no ceasefire, no water, no medicine, and no release of abducted children? Then we hurtle towards even greater horrors afflicting innocent children.
“There are certainly children who are dying who have been impacted by the bombardment but should have had their lives saved,” Elder told reporters in Geneva, via video-link.
Elder added that without greater humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip, “then the deaths from the attacks, they could absolutely be the tip of the iceberg”.
He said that according to figures from health faculties in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, some 940 children were missing.
UN humanitarian agency spokesman Jens Laerke added: “It’s almost unbearable to think about children buried under rubble, but (with) very little opportunity or possibility for getting them out.”
The World Health Organization said people in Gaza were dying not just from direct bombardment.
“We have 130 premature infants that are dependent on incubators, of which 61 percent approximately are in the north,” said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier.
“It’s an imminent public health catastrophe that looms with the mass displacement, the overcrowding, and the damage to water and sanitation infrastructure.”