NGO Expresses Concern over Child Casualties in Gaza

NGO Expresses Concern over Child Casualties in Gaza

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - More children have lost their lives in Gaza over the last three weeks than the total number of children killed in conflicts worldwide every year since 2019, according to the non-governmental organization Save the Children.

Citing data from Palestinian health authorities, Save the Children reported that at least 3,324 children have been killed in Gaza since October 7, while an additional 36 children have died in the West Bank.

The figures provided by Save the Children were compared to reports from the UN Secretary General on children and armed conflict. These reports indicated that a total of 2,985 children were killed across 24 countries in 2022, 2,515 in 2021, and 2,674 in 2020 across 22 countries.

Jason Lee, Save the Children's country director for the occupied Palestinian territory, stated, "One child's death is one too many, but these are grave violations of epic proportions. A ceasefire is the only way to ensure their safety. The international community must put people before politics – every day spent debating is leaving children killed and injured. Children must be protected at all times, especially when they are seeking safety in schools and hospitals."

The stark numbers come as Israel continues its expanded ground operations within Gaza amid ongoing heavy aerial bombardment. A near-total communication blackout affected the entire Gaza Strip on Friday, described by witnesses as a night of sheer terror and some of the heaviest fighting since the war began.

In addition to the child casualties, more than 1,000 children have been reported missing in Gaza and may be trapped under the rubble. Children account for over 40 percent of the 8,000+ people confirmed to have been killed in Gaza, with more than 6,000 children injured since the conflict began.

Israel has enforced a total siege on Gaza, tightening the blockade that has been in place since 2007. This siege involves cutting off essential supplies like food, electricity, fuel, and water, and allowing only minimal amounts of aid to pass through the Rafah crossing with Egypt since October 21.

The severe lack of electricity and fuel to power generators has forced hospitals to reduce their operations. The Gaza health system has been declared in a "complete collapse," endangering the lives of children, including neonatal intensive care patients in need of energy-intensive care.

The situation has also placed hospitals at risk, as the Israeli military has increased attacks in close proximity to al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City and ordered its immediate evacuation. Despite lacking any military or police presence, the hospital has been subjected to attacks, with its surroundings also targeted. The hospital is currently treating hundreds of injured patients, and around 12,000 displaced civilians, mainly children and women, have sought refuge in the hospital.

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