Gaza: "No Peace for Children"
May 21, 2021
Following 11 days of armed conflict, world leaders have hailed a ceasefire between Israel and militants in Gaza. More than 65 children have been killed and 440 wounded since airstrikes and artillery bombardments rocked the occupied Palestinian territory. Two children in Israel have died in rocket attacks. Almost 30,000 people in Gaza - many of them children - have been displaced.
Children can still hear the loud booms and feel the reverberations of the bombardments. For nearly two weeks, families in Gaza have slept in their clothes - if they've slept at all - with a bag ready between their bed and the door containing passports, a handful of possessions and cash.
When 15-year old Laila from Gaza was warned that her home was about to be hit, she fled the apartment block along with her family. “I picked up my little sister and ran”, recalls Laila. “That feeling of being harmed; of having no safety - it's hard to shake off.”
Laila (15) from Gaza with her younger sister after fleeing their home before it was struck
Photo: War Child
World leaders have hailed a ceasefire, yet the war in children's minds has only just begun
Photo: OCHA | Samar Abu Elouf
Moving to Respond
Together with local partners, War Child is scaling up our humanitarian assistance to provide food, bedding, clothing and other basics to families whose homes have been destroyed. With access to COVID-19 vaccines scarce for Palestinians across the densely populated enclave, we are intensifying deliveries of vital hygiene and sanitary kits.
Mobile teams are primed to provide psychological first aid to children and youth as well as parents and caregivers - in addition to our existing psychosocial support programme. We are also working hard to set-up telephone hotline-based support.
Over 48 educational facilities in Gaza have been severely damaged, from day care centres to vocational colleges. War Child is exploring possibilities to offer remote schooling for children.
Over 48 educational facilities in Gaza have been severely damaged, from day care centres to vocational colleges
Photo: OCHA | Mohammad Libed
Our mobile teams will provide psychological first aid to children and youth as well as parents and caregivers
Photo: OCHA | Mohammad Libed
Unhindered Humanitarian Access
To be able to reach these children, War Child demands unhindered access for NGOs and humanitarian organisations. It is absolutely critical that families receive the psychosocial support and protection they need.
“Children in Gaza have already lived through four armed conflicts - a living testimony of suffering and injustice”, says War Child humanitarian director Dr. Unni Krishnan. “While today's news brings hope, the reality is that there will be no peace until the root causes of the violence are addressed."