Mon 06 May 2024 5:20 pm - Jerusalem Time

UNICEF: About 600,000 children in Rafah are threatened by a “new imminent disaster”

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Monday that about 600,000 children in Rafah were threatened by a "new imminent disaster," calling for them not to be "evacuated by force" at a time when Israel called on citizens to leave the city, which it insists on invading.

The organization said, "Due to the concentration of a large number of children in Rafah, some of whom are in a state of extreme vulnerability and are barely able to withstand, and given the extent of the expected violence, with evacuation 'corridors' littered with mines and unexploded ordnance, and limited facilities and services in the areas to which they will be transferred, UNICEF issues a warning." About a new impending disaster for children.”

The organization warned in a statement that "military operations may lead to a large number of civilian casualties and complete destruction of the basic services and infrastructure on which they depend for their continuity."

The organization's director, Catherine Russell, confirmed, "Rafah is now a children's city, and its children have no safe place to go within Gaza. If large-scale military operations begin, children will be exposed not only to the risk of violence, but also to chaos and panic - and they are already physically and mentally exhausted."

UNICEF, which once again called for a ceasefire, particularly stresses the presence of 78,000 infants under the age of two and 175,000 children under five (nine out of ten children) suffering from one or more infectious diseases.

The city of Rafah is the last refuge for the displaced in the afflicted Strip. Since the beginning of the ground operation launched by the occupation forces on the Gaza Strip on the 27th of last October, citizens have been asked to go from the north and center of the Strip to the south, claiming that they are “safe areas.”

Rafah extends from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the 1967 borders in the east, and from the Egyptian border in the south to the borders of Khan Yunis Governorate in the north, and it is separated from the city of Jerusalem by 107 kilometers if you walk in a straight line towards the northeast.

Most of the people of the city of Rafah are Palestinian refugees who took refuge there after the Nakba of 1948, and it has camps: Al-Shaboura, the Western Camp, Yabna Camp, Badr Camp, the Saudi Camp, Al-Shawut Camp, Block “O,” and many camps under different names.

Today, Rafah, despite its small area estimated at about 65 square kilometers, accommodates more than 1.5 million Palestinians, the majority of whom were forced to flee there in search of safety.

The displaced people face miserable conditions inside thousands of tents spread throughout the city. Even the sidewalks are crowded with these tents, and the main roads have turned into crowded markets.

The Rafah land crossing is considered a lifeline for the citizens of the Gaza Strip, and the only land port for bringing in aid and evacuating the injured. Any military attack on Rafah means deprivation of food and medical aid.

The Israeli occupation continues its land, sea and air aggression against the Gaza Strip since October 7, which resulted in the death of 34,735 citizens, the majority of whom were children and women, and the injury of 78,108 others, while thousands of victims remain under the rubble.


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UNICEF: About 600,000 children in Rafah are threatened by a “new imminent disaster”