Gaza Strip. Devastating Israeli attacks on refugee camps: UNICEF and UNRWA speak out
UNICEF has also expressed strong condemnation of the Israeli attacks on refugee camps. They stated, “The horrifying and terrifying scenes emerging from the Jabalia camp in the Gaza Strip following the recent attacks are deeply distressing”.
The United Nations agency responsible for humanitarian aid to children and mothers reported that they don’t yet have precise figures for child casualties. Numerous homes have been destroyed, and many people, including children, have been killed or injured.
High casualty rate among children in ongoing bombings
These recent attacks are part of a series of ongoing bombings. They have now extended to 26 days, during which more than 3,500 children have tragically lost their lives, not including the latest casualties, and over 6,800 children have been injured. This represents an alarming average of over 400 children killed or wounded every day for the past 25 days. UNICEF strongly emphasizes that this should not become the new norm. It also reminds all parties involved that refugee camps, settlements for internally displaced persons, and the civilians residing in them are protected by international humanitarian law. All conflicting parties have an obligation to respect and safeguard them from attacks.
According to Tel Aviv, Hamas has been intentionally constructing “terrorist infrastructure under civilian residences”. However, UNICEF reiterates that large-scale attacks on densely populated residential areas can have indiscriminate effects and are entirely unacceptable. Refugee camps and the people living in them are protected by international humanitarian law, and children must be shielded from harm. The killing and imprisonment of children must come to an end. UNICEF concludes its statement by renewing its urgent appeal to all conflicting parties for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. This ceasefire should ensure the safety of all children in the Gaza Strip. It should also allow unimpeded humanitarian access to provide lifesaving aid, in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Lazzarini describes “unprecedented” tragedy in Gaza Strip
The Commissioner-General of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, has described the situation in Gaza as “unprecedented”. Lazzarini recently visited the Gaza Strip for the first time since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. He witnessed the devastating aftermath, with 1,300 Israelis killed, including many children, and about 200 kidnapped. In a statement, he expressed his deep sadness, describing it as one of the saddest days in his humanitarian career.
During his visit, Lazzarini saw the overcrowded conditions and the lack of basic necessities among displaced refugees in one of the agency’s schools in Rafah. He emphasized the urgent need for a ceasefire, as the pleas for help from the people of Gaza are going unanswered.
Lazzarini concluded by reiterating the appeal for the supply of fuel to hospitals, bakeries, and water facilities. He emphasized that over 70 UNRWA staff members have lost their lives since October 7.