Displaced Palestinian children in front of makeshift tents at a camp beside a street in Rafah Displaced Palestinian children in front of makeshift tents at a camp beside a street in Rafah  (AFP or licensors)

Save the Children decries 'relentless mental harm' suffered by Gaza children

Save the Children warns of the "complete psychological destruction" Gaza children are suffering due to five months of war. The humanitarian organization appeals once again for a ceasefire and for emergency aid to be able to reach the people immediately.

By Thaddeus Jones

With news of aid shipments finally arriving in Gaza on its shorelines, and from the skies through occasional air drops, aid agencies are still warning that much more is urgently needed to save lives. The primary means for massive aid to arrive is via land border crossings, but not nearly enough has been able to get through.

The charitable organization, Save the Children, among many other aid agencies, continues to sound the alarm on the lack of food and clean water that is causing "a catastrophic hunger crisis, with nearly every child in Gaza at risk of famine." 

Renewed appeal for ceasefire

In a statement released this week, Save the Children appealed once again for "an immediate, definitive ceasefire to save and protect the lives of children in Gaza" and called on Israeli authorities "to allow the unfettered flow of aid and the resumption of entry of commercial goods into Gaza to prevent children from dying of starvation and disease."

Gaza's Ministry of Health reports that more than 30,717 people, including 12,550 children, have been killed since the violence erupted in retaliation for the 7 October attacks on Israel killing 1,200 people, including 33 children, and the taking of more than 240 hostages.

Psychological destruction

Save the Children warned especially of the "relentless mental harm" being inflicted on the children in Gaza due to the intensity of five months of bombardments, deaths, destruction, and displacement, resulting now in starvation and disease. The charity warns that the latest escalation in violence has also brought about a total collapse of pre-existing mental health services in Gaza.

Not too late

Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director for Palestine, says that no child should have to endure this horrific reality, saying "children in Gaza are going through a period of mass-scale shock and grief," while trying to flee from the violence and its deadlly aftermath. He add that with the right support, there is still hope children can receive the critical help and psychological support they need now, but "none of this is possible without an immediate, definitive ceasefire and safe, unfettered aid access so that humanitarians can provide the critical support needed.”  

Since 1953, Save the Children has been providing essential services and support to Palestinian children impacted by the ongoing conflict with lifesaving humanitarian aid. 

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16 March 2024, 14:32