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UNICEF says one million children in besieged Gaza Strip need urgent humanitarian assistance

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Palestinian children wave Palestinian national flags as they play among the rubble of buildings destroyed by last month's Israeli bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on June 19, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has called for immediate delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance to the besieged Gaza Strip, saying that one million children in the blockaded enclave need emergency aid.

“Gaza has 1 million #children, many are in need of assistance. We call for the immediate delivery of unimpeded humanitarian assistance to the #GazaStrip, many children need urgent health, water and education,” the UNICEF Palestine tweeted on Sunday.

It added that “No assistance will have dire consequences on children” in the densely-populated sliver.

The impoverished Gaza Strip, which is home to some two million people, has been under a blockade imposed by Israel since June 2007, some two years after the regime forces withdrew from the enclave.

On Friday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator of the occupied Palestinian territory Lynn Hastings warned that the Israeli tight ban on bringing supplies to Gaza Strip puts vital sectors in the enclave at risk, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

She also said that in the absence of a return to regular entry of goods into the besieged enclave, the capacity of the UN and its partners to deliver critical interventions is at risk.

The UN official added that the livelihoods and basic services for the people in Gaza were also at risk.

“I urge Israel to ease the restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, in line with UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), with the goal of ultimately lifting them. Only by fully lifting the debilitating closures can we hope to sustainably resolve the humanitarian crisis and contribute to longer term stability,” Hastings said in a press release issued following her visit on Thursday to Gaza Strip.


In recent years, the enclave has been receiving its bare essentials through the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as two others, including one with Egypt, which is being strictly controlled by the government in Cairo.

“The UN currently estimates that 250,000 people are still without regular access to piped water, and that 185,000 are relying on unsafe water sources or paying higher prices for bottled water. The critical agricultural sector, a main source of food and income in Gaza is at risk, including the current planting season,” Hastings added.

From May 10 to 21, Israel continuously bombarded the Gaza Strip, in an aggression prompted by the regime’s repeated assaults against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, in particular its forced displacement plots in the East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

At least 260 Palestinians, including over 60 children, were killed in the 11-day aggression. The Gaza-based resistance movements retaliated with thousands of rockets and missiles.

The regime was eventually forced to announce a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which came into force in the early hours of May 21.

“The cessation of the regular entry of commercial goods is impacting the work of hundreds of Gaza private sector businesses and the income of thousands of workers. Exports from Gaza, which are critical to livelihoods, are virtually halted. Obstacles facing the private sector need to be removed if it is to recover and resume its role as the main driver of growth and employment,” the UN official further said.

In conclusion, Hastings said that “Israel must fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law”, stressing that, “humanitarian assistance is not conditional.”

Israel has launched three major wars on Gaza since 2008.

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