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Statement on the Impact of Conflict on Children and Young People in Gaza 

GazaKids

We are horrified by the devastating impact of conflict on the lives and safety of children and young people across Gaza.

Every war, anywhere in the world, is a war against children. In Gaza, which is now the world’s most dangerous place in which to be a child, the suffering is astounding. More than 15,000 children have lost their lives to violence, malnutrition and dehydration, and many others are missing. They have lost their parents, friends and families. Their homes have been reduced to rubble, and they have been displaced with nowhere safe to go. They are facing catastrophic levels of hunger, often resorting to eating animal feed, and lack access to water and other basic services. This is all made worse by severely limited humanitarian access to civilians for the provision of life-saving supplies, including food and water. Those who have survived with grievous injuries do not have access to well-equipped emergency and healthcare services.   

We are deeply concerned about the tremendous physical and mental toll on survivors, who will suffer and bear the scars of war for the rest of their lives. Child helplines across the region are experiencing a huge increase in demand for help and support, as children, young people and their families navigate terrible loss and trauma. Children must be urgently prioritized and supported with basic services, nutrition, water, healthcare and protection from violence and its effects. Children need well-evidenced, widely available and easily accessible child helplines that can provide quality mental health and psychosocial support and other forms of help, now and long into the future. 

Children are not collateral damage. We ask that all parties to the conflict make every effort to ensure their safety and survival. We stand with the UN Special Representatives to the Secretary-General – for Children and Armed Conflict, and on Violence Against Children – in their call for all parties and their interlocutors to seek an immediate and permanent cessation of hostilities and an urgent and peaceful resolution of the conflict. We also join the call for the safe return of hostages and those in arbitrary detention, and a peaceful future for all children in the region and beyond. 

Patrick Krens
Executive Director
Child Helpline International