NEW YORK Jan. 20: The UN’s humanitarian chief described the situation in Gaza as “dire”, as the organisation revealed that one child has been killed every hour in the conflict for the past three days.
According to the latest situation report from Gaza by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the most recent shelling has caused damage to six UN-run schools, among 83 hosting at least 140,000 people who have been forced to evacuate their homes.
Speaking on Thursday Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs, said the most pressing concern in the “terrible” situation was that “so many children have been killed as a result of the violence in the last few days”.
At least 23 children had died in Israeli attacks over the period covered by the OCHA’s last daily report. At least 26 had died in the 24 hours before that, and the trend averaging one child death an hour now goes back three days.
“People are sheltering in UN schools which as a result cannot be used for education. They are running out of food, and water is also a serious concern,” Amos said.
“With about 44 per cent of Gaza not able to be used by Palestinians leaving their homes the situation is even more dire,” she added.
“But the majority of those killed in Gaza are women, children and men who have nothing to do with the fighting. That we have had children, so many children killed as a result of the violence in the last few days is a terrible, terrible situation,” UN’ envoy underlined.
Gazan police and health officials said that in the early hours of Thursday morning an Israeli airstrike on the Jebaliya refugee camp killed six members of the same family, including an 18-month-old boy.
At least 15 people were killed and around 200 others wounded when Israeli forces targeted the Ashraf al-Qidra school. Women, children and UN staff were among those killed during the Israeli shelling of a UN-run school in northern Gaza, in which hundreds of people had taken refuge.
More than 830 Palestinians have been killed and 5,500 wounded in 18 days of Israeli aerial and ground offensives in the besieged Gaza Strip.