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At least 17,000 children left unaccompanied in Gaza amid Israel’s war: UNRWA

Children walk in a camp for displaced people in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip by the border with Egypt on April 28, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has raised the alarm over the deteriorating situation for the Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, as Israel continues its brutal war against the besieged territory.

In a post on X on Sunday, UNRWA said children face shattered lives in Gaza, adding that at least 17,000 children in the blockaded territory are unaccompanied or separated from their families.

“With [more than] 70 percent of houses damaged or destroyed, most [children] have also lost their homes. Schools have become shelters for survival, not for education. Their future needs protecting,” it said.

Separately, Phillipe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA, said rising temperatures in Gaza have led to the death of at least two children.

“We received reports that at least two children died due to the heat,” Lazzarini said in a statement.

“What more to endure: death, hunger, disease, displacement, and now living in greenhouses-like structures under scorching heat,” he added.

An ongoing, severe heatwave is affecting more than two million people living in a dire situation in the Gaza Strip, and has caused multiple fatalities, including children.

Several media reports say temperatures have hovered around 30 degrees Celsius in recent days, well above normal for this time of the year.

UNRWA further noted that life conditions in Gaza worsen as temperature rises, stressing that children are paying the highest toll as it reiterated its call for an immediate ceasefire.

Israel waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas conducted Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

Since the start of the aggression, the Tel Aviv regime has killed over 34,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and left vast swathes of the coastal enclave in ruins.

The Tel Aviv regime has also imposed a “complete siege” on the territory, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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