PALESTINE

Mon 24 Jun 2024 3:12 pm - Jerusalem Time

Save the Children: 21,000 Palestinian children are missing in Gaza

The British organization Save the Children reported that about 21,000 children in Gaza were missing as a result of the Israeli war on the Strip, according to its latest estimates.


It is estimated that many of the missing children are trapped under rubble, detained, buried in unknown graves, or missing from their families.


The report also added that the recent displacement operations resulting from the Israeli attack on the city of Rafah have led to the dispersal of more children and increased pressure on the families and communities that care for them.


In a previous statement, UNICEF spokesman James Elder said that the killing and destruction practiced by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip will not bring peace to children or the region.


He stressed that the impact that the war has on children reinforces the belief that the war on Gaza is a “war on children.”


In the same context, UNICEF spokesman Kazem Abu Khalaf indicated that about 100 children are killed or injured every day in Gaza. He added that civilians, especially children, are paying a heavy price due to the lack of a ceasefire.


Abu Khalaf warned that things would get worse if a truce was not reached and the necessary humanitarian aid was not allowed to be provided.


The missing children of Gaza

It is almost impossible to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza, but it is believed that at least 17,000 children are separated from their families.


About 4,000 children are likely missing under the rubble, with an unknown number also lying in mass graves.


Other children have been forcibly disappeared, including an unknown number who were detained and forcibly transferred out of Gaza, with their family members not knowing their whereabouts, amid reports of ill-treatment and torture.


At the same time, Save the Children's child protection teams have stressed the need to take urgent measures to protect children who have lost their parents - measures that are severely undermined by the war conditions in the Strip.


Instant search for missing children

The child protection specialist at Save the Children said that the situation in Gaza is worsening day after day for children who have lost their families or have been left without care in light of the current conditions.


He added: "We are working in cooperation with our local partners to identify and assist unaccompanied children, but there is no safe place for these children in Gaza."


He explained that families who hosted only children suffer from great difficulties in meeting their basic needs, such as shelter, food, and water.

These statements come in the wake of the recent attacks launched by the occupation army in the city of Rafah, where reports from the United Nations and the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported horrific cases of mass casualties and deaths, described as torture and execution.

The organization noted that children still alive face serious risks, and urged immediate search for missing children, preserving their safety, and reuniting them with their families.

In a related context, reports indicated that a large number of Palestinian children from the West Bank are missing, which increases the anxiety of their families and hampers search efforts for them.

Save the Children's regional director, Jeremy Stoner, called for a ceasefire to search for missing children, provide them with support, prevent the destruction of more families, and conduct an independent investigation to hold those responsible for their suffering accountable.

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Save the Children: 21,000 Palestinian children are missing in Gaza

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