UN alarmed by Gaza war's toll on children, 'catastrophic' hunger

UN alarmed by Gaza war's toll on children, 'catastrophic' hunger
Ten children a day are losing one or both legs in the war-torn Gaza Strip due to Israel's bombardment and half a million civilians there are going hungry.
2 min read
Most of Israel's victims in Gaza have been civilians, especially children and women [Getty]

UN agencies sounded the alarm about war-torn Gaza on Tuesday, saying that 10 children a day are losing one or both legs and half a million Palestinians suffer "catastrophic" hunger.

There was no let-up in Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, as it maintained the siege on the territory's 2.4 million people.

An AFP correspondent witnessed a strike that killed five people, including two children, near Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, leaving the corpses scattered in a pool of blood.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in a briefing in Geneva warned of the war's dire impact on children in Gaza.

"Basically we have every day 10 children who are losing one leg or two legs on average," Lazzarini told reporters.

Citing figures from the UN children's agency UNICEF, he said that figure "does not even include the arms and the hands, and we have many more" of these.

"Ten per day, that means around 2,000 children after the more than 260 days of this brutal war," Lazzarini said.

He said amputation often takes place "in quite horrible conditions", sometimes without anaesthesia.

The UN's Rome-based World Food Programme, meanwhile, said a new report "paints a stark picture of ongoing hunger".

Live Story

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) partnership said its March warning of imminent famine in the north of the Palestinian territory had not materialised.

"However, the situation in Gaza remains catastrophic and there is a high and sustained risk of famine across the whole Gaza Strip," the report said, warning against complacency.

It said around 495,000 people - around 22 percent of the territory's population, according to the UN - are still facing "catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity".

Another 745,000 people are classified as in a food security emergency.