Gaza: 600,000 children suffering from hunger and fear in Rafah, UNICEF warns

Gaza: 600,000 children suffering from hunger and fear in Rafah, UNICEF warns
UNICEF has stressed the grim circumstances faced by Palestinian children in Rafah, where hunger and fears of an Israeli ground invasion are widespread.
3 min read
07 April, 2024
Hunger levels are reaching unprecedented levels in Rafah, putting children in danger [Getty/file photo]

Up to 600,000 Palestinian children are facing hunger in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where over 1.5 million displaced Gazans are seeking refuge, UNICEF warned on Friday,

The children and their families are also faced with the daily threat of Israeli attack, with Israeli forces bombing the city many times throughout their indiscriminate military campaign, killing scores of Palestinians.

Rafah, despite being earlier designated as part of a "safe zone" by Israel, has been threatened with a ground invasion by the Israeli army amid international warnings against such a move.

Families and their children are suffering dire conditions there, due to overcrowding. They live in flimsy tents and have little or no access to clean water and showering facilities

In a statement on X, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said: "Rafah is a city for children. 600,000 boys and girls, but where a military offensive is threatened to take place. They are besieged in Rafah, and they have no safe place to go."

Elder added that given the hunger and fear in Rafah, the concept of "hope risks being scratched from the dictionary in Gaza", despite Palestinian parents' efforts to comfort and provide for their children.

Israel has killed 33,175 Palestinians during its indiscriminate military campaign against the Gaza Strip, which is now in its sixth month.

Children and women comprise the majority of the victims, with UNICEF and Save The Children saying that at least 13,800 children have been killed.

Live Story

Israeli forces kill around four children every hour in Gaza, while more than 43,000 children have lost at least one parent since October 7, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, as cited by Al Jazeera Mubasher.

"UNICEF continues to call for an immediate and permanent humanitarian ceasefire and for unfettered humanitarian access to every child and family in need," the agency said on X.

Several NGOs and charities continue to warn of the threat of famine amid increasingly high levels of food insecurity in the devastated Gaza Strip, exacerbated by Israel’s blocking of humanitarian aid deliveries.

Israeli atrocities in the Gaza Strip have condemned globally, and have been described as akin to war crimes by several world leaders. In December, South Africa accused Israel of carrying out a genocide against Palestinians in Gaza at the International Court of Justice. 

Israel has been faced with growing calls to agree to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza as this weekend marks six months of bloodshed, and after the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers earlier this week.