The intensity of the Government of Israel’s offensive coupled with its ongoing siege have undermined the ability to provide humanitarian assistance, Save the Children said today.
If a definitive ceasefire and the necessary conditions for a humanitarian response are not put in place immediately, more children’s lives will be the cost.
Inger Ashing, Save the Children International’s Chief Executive Officer, said:
“We are running out of words to describe the horror unfolding for Gaza’s children. Most of them have been forcibly displaced, squeezed into a tiny sliver of land that cannot accommodate them. Those who haven’t been forced from their homes are cut-off from the basics needed for survival, far away from the little amount of humanitarian assistance that can be delivered.
“Those who have survived the bombardment so far face the imminent risk of starvation and disease. Our teams are telling us of maggots being picked from wounds, and children undergoing amputations without anesthetic. Children are enduring and witnessing horrors, while the world looks on. The level of human suffering is intolerable.
“As humanitarian agencies have been repeatedly warning: there is nowhere safe in Gaza. We have sounded the alarm for weeks and the world has failed to act.
“Humanitarian assistance has become the only lifeline for children and their families since this escalation began – and now, even that is becoming increasingly impossible. We are simply unable to do our job effectively.
“The intensity of hostilities and the weaponisation of aid by the Israeli authorities, including drip-feeding of food, water, and medicine, to a population under siege, mean we simply cannot reach children throughout Gaza at the scale required. Our ability to fulfil our duty to keep our teams safe has been destroyed. Our collective responsibility to protect children has been thwarted.
“What kind of future will the children who survive the onslaught face? They have lost their families, their homes and schools have been destroyed, they have suffered unimaginable mental harm. We cannot also let them lose hope that the world will act, and that humanity will prevail.
“We must heed the lessons from the past and must prevent ‘atrocity crimes’ from unfolding.
“I received this message from my team in the occupied Palestinian territory today: ‘We are failing the children of Gaza.’ But this is outside of our control. The world has a responsibility to act immediately.”
Save the Children stands ready to scale-up our support to children who will need humanitarian assistance to live to see next week. But the basic conditions to reach families need to be established by the international community.
Save the Children has been providing essential services and support to Palestinian children since 1953. Save the Children’s team in the occupied Palestinian territory has been working around the clock, prepositioning vital supplies to support people in need, and working to find ways to get assistance into Gaza.