The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) has warned about the killing of children in Gaza amid fighting between Israel and Hamas.
“Hundreds and hundreds of children have been killed and injured,” spokesperson James Elder said at a press briefing Friday in Geneva, according to a Unicef summary.
“Every hour in Gaza the number of children killed rises. The killing of children must stop,” he said.
“The images and stories are clear: children with horrendous burns, mortar wounds, and lost limbs,” Elder continued.
“And hospitals are utterly overwhelmed to treat them. Yet the numbers keep rising.”
Israel ordered the evacuation of around one million people in Gaza ahead of an expected ground operation in the territory, which has faced Israeli airstrikes and blackout.
“The IDF calls for the evacuation of all civilians of Gaza City from their homes southwards for their own safety and protection and move to the area south of the Wadi Gaza,” the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The UN warned that the movement of so many people with a 24-hour deadline could be disastrous.
Since fighting began after Hamas attacked Saturday, approximately 2,800 people have died on both sides. About 150 people were taken into Gaza by militants as hostages. Israel has said it will not allow supplies into the territory until the hostages are freed.
“The humanitarian situation has reached lethal lows, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion – and international law – must prevail.
“Unicef is calling for an immediate cease fire as 1.1 million people – nearly half of them children – have been warned to move out of the way ahead of a what is expected to be a ground assault on one of the most densely populated places on the planet, but with nowhere safe for civilians to go.
“Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes.
“Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, shutting down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no long get drinking water from service providers or household water through pipelines,
“At least six water wells, three water pumping stations, one water reservoir, and one desalination plant serving more than 1million people have been damaged by airstrikes.”
Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip since Hamas’s attack on southern Israel one week ago have killed at least 2,215 people, including 724 children, the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-controlled health ministry said yesterday.
Some 458 women were among those killed, the ministry said. It added that 8,714 people have also been wounded, after an earlier statement said at least 324 people were killed in the past 24 hours alone, reports AFP.
“Israeli children being held hostage in Gaza must be safely and immediately reunited with their families and loved ones,” Elder also said.
“Humanitarians must be able to safely access children and their families with lifesaving services and supplies – wherever they may be,” he added.
“In every war, the ones who suffer the most are children. This is tragically true today.”