The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has severely impacted families. This week, global humanitarian agencies expressed deep concern over the alarming reports of casualties and kidnappings targeting children and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.
As the conflict escalates, disturbing visuals from both territories depict distressed children amidst the chaos and devastation of bombings. In Gaza, deceased children, victims of artillery fire, are mourned by their communities.
UNICEF’s Executive Director, Catherine Russell, commented on the distressing situation, emphasizing the agency’s condemnation of any acts violating children’s rights. The increasing number of casualties, especially children, is of grave concern to UNICEF. Based on records from Palestinian sources, the death toll in Gaza includes a significant number of children and women.
A mother, wishing to remain anonymous, shared her anguish over her two sons who were taken by Hamas militants from their residence near Gaza.
James Elder, a spokesperson for UNICEF, conveyed the agency’s distress regarding these measures during a media interaction in Geneva. He emphasized the added hardships these measures would impose on the already suffering populace of Gaza, particularly the potential risks to children due to attacks and the deprivation of essential services.
Data from UNICEF indicates that a large proportion of Gaza’s inhabitants are dependent on humanitarian aid. Lynn Hastings from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs underscored the severe humanitarian repercussions of the conflict and appealed for adherence to international humanitarian norms.
She stressed the need to safeguard civilians, especially children, healthcare establishments, humanitarian workers, and the media. She also called for the immediate and unconditional release of captured civilians.
In line with this, UNICEF has reiterated the necessity to shield children from harm in accordance with global humanitarian norms.