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UNICEF reports that despite calls for a cease-fire, children continue to lose their lives in Gaza.
Middle East Science & Health

UNICEF reports that despite calls for a cease-fire, children continue to lose their lives in Gaza.

A prominent United Nations organization is cautioning that if the plea for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza is not heeded, there will be ongoing casualties, endangering the lives of children living in the highly populated Palestinian territory.

On Tuesday, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder stated that Gaza has tragically become the final resting place for countless children and a place of immense suffering for all others.

According to the Gaza health ministry under the control of Hamas, over 8,300 Palestinians, including 3,457 children, have been reported killed in Gaza due to Israel’s aggressive bombing campaign, which was initiated as a response to the brutal attack on its civilians by Hamas extremists on October 7.

Bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on houses in Jabalia refugee camp, lie at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, Oct. 31, 2023.

In the northern Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023, the remains of Palestinians who were killed in Israeli attacks on homes in the Jabalia refugee camp are located at a hospital.

Since the beginning of the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, UNICEF has consistently emphasized the urgency of a humanitarian cease-fire, the importance of delivering aid, and the necessity of releasing abducted children. Along with numerous others, we have implored for an end to the tragic deaths of innocent children.

Although Washington is backing Israel, they are also advocating for the safeguarding of innocent civilians and urging for the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza during Israel’s escalating ground offensive against Hamas, a designated terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

After October 21, Israel has eased its restrictions on Gaza and according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 143 trucks containing food, water, and medical supplies have been able to enter Gaza through the Rafah Crossing with Egypt.

Jens Laerke, spokesperson for OCHA, stated that prior to the current increase, an average of 500 trucks were in operation per working day, which equates to approximately 22 days per month.

He stated that the fuel consumed was equivalent to 50 truckloads on the average daily consumption of 500.

According to OCHA, the trucks currently entering Gaza do not have any fuel. This fuel is necessary for generating electricity at Gaza’s sole power plant, supporting hospital generators, maintaining water desalination plants, and preventing the closure of the limited number of bakeries in Gaza.

According to Christian Lindmeier, a representative from the World Health Organization, fuel is more than just a luxury for expensive vehicles. It plays a crucial role in providing water, powering ambulances and hospitals, and improving the overall quality of life in Gaza, which is currently facing a devastating humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli government denies entry of fuel into Gaza, citing concerns that diesel could be used by Hamas for military purposes. They also claim that Hamas has amassed a significant amount of fuel for military purposes.

It also maintains that a cease-fire is not feasible as they are currently in a crucial battle against an entity whose goal is to eliminate Jews and annihilate Israel.

Elder stated that children are losing their lives due to lack of necessary medical supplies and care. They have been affected by bombing and could have been saved if they had received proper treatment.

He stated that if humanitarian access is not granted, the number of deaths resulting from the attacks may only be the beginning. He cautioned that fatalities will significantly rise if hospitals continue to be denied essential medication, and if vital equipment such as incubators fail due to lack of electricity, causing hospitals to lose power.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 130 newborn babies who rely on incubators for survival. The majority (61%) of these infants are located in the northern region of Gaza, which has been heavily impacted by Israeli bombing. Additionally, there are approximately 50,000 pregnant women in the area, with an average of 180 births occurring every day. Furthermore, there are 350,000 individuals suffering from non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, who require immediate medical attention.

Lindmeier stated that the availability of medical supplies and electricity is essential for addressing the looming public health crisis. This is due to the potential for widespread displacement, overcrowding, and damage to water and sanitation systems.

According to Elder, UNICEF has sent a total of 25 trucks into Gaza from across the border since October 21. On Monday, eight of these trucks delivered water, hygiene products, and medical supplies, but no fuel.

Many agencies are feeling very frustrated and angry due to the large number of trucks and containers waiting at the border and unable to enter Gaza.

“We understand that obtaining the cease-fire we have been desperately requesting since day one may not be possible. However, it is essential that we provide these individuals with the basic necessities that all humans deserve, such as water and medicine.”

“He stated that agencies and UNICEF have received some, but it is still a small amount and is not acceptable.”