• Deir el-Balah

  • Sunday, June 16, 2024 at 11:40 AM
    Last Update : Sunday, June 23, 2024 at 9:45 AM

UNICEF Spokesperson Says Gaza’s Children Suffering “Horrendous Malnutrition”

(AWP) - UNICEF Spokesperson James Elder said children in the Gaza Strip are suffering “horrendous malnutrition” after more than 250 days of Israel’s sustained war on the enclave.

“We see horrendous malnutrition of children, because the war is devastating everything—devastating agriculture, devastating homes, devastating people’s jobs,” he said.

“Malnutrition was not a big issue in Gaza. Now, we see cases of children, one out of three, or one out of four under the age of 2 suffering malnutrition. As a response, UNICEF has had these stabilization centers. These are life-saving places for children. We’ve slipped into the most dangerous form of malnutrition. When the Rafah offensive occurred, these stabilization centers were lost,” noted Elder.

“Children are under attack here from so many levels. Yes, from the bombardments—let me assure you, they are relentless. After 250 days, they are relentless. But they are also under attack from the ground, from the lack of nutrition, from the lack of water, and from the grave risk of disease. And all this, all this comes back to one thing: it must come back to a ceasefire,” the UNICEF spokesperson stressed.

“Attacks on children here, attacks on homes here are so consistent. In Rafah last night there were consistent bombings by Apache helicopters. I don’t have a military background, but I know enough to know these bombings,” he continued.

“So, when I walked into this hospital, the first family my colleagues and I speak to, the very first one, there was a little boy, Ali, who was asleep in the family home, only a week ago, the third floor home, a regular home, a beautiful home, there is a bedroom and there’s a desk, posters on the wall, like any child around the world. Suddenly at five o’clock in the morning, a missile hit, and the next thing, he was under the rubble. His mother, we then learnt, was two floors above in the same hospital,” said Elder.

“She’s got head injuries. She’s OK, she’s OK, but her other two children, she explains, three- or four-month-old and three-year-old. Those two children have been killed. That’s the first family we spoke to. Not as a reality, as this cannot be normalized. The consistent killing of children must not be normalized,” he emphasized.

A total of 37,296 Palestinians have been killed and 85,197 others wounded since the Israeli war erupted on the enclave on October 7, 2023, the health ministry in Gaza reported on Sunday.