June 18, 2024

New Malaysia Times

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UNICEF chief calls for immediate humanitarian access for Gaza’s children


KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director Henrietta Fore called on Tuesday for the immediate cessation of hostilities on humanitarian grounds to allow the entry of staff and essential supplies.

She urged the establishment of humanitarian corridors for the UN body to deliver supplies that include fuel, medical items, first-aid kits, and COVID-19 vaccines, in order for families to reunite and access essential services and for the sick or wounded to be evacuated. 

“Every day the conflict continues, children across the State of Palestine and Israel will suffer. These children need a ceasefire now, as well as a long-term political solution to the broader conflict.

“They deserve far better than this horrible cycle of violence and fear that has gone on for far too long,” she said in a statement issued in New York on Tuesday.


The already weakened water and sanitation systems have been further compromised as a result of this latest escalation, in which UNICEF estimated that 325,000 people need emergency water and sanitation services, without which they are more likely to contract potentially deadly infectious diseases.

Fore added electricity output across Gaza has dropped by roughly 60 per cent, leaving hospitals increasingly dependent on generators for the provision of essential healthcare services.

“These generators require significant amounts of fuel to function. Any reduction in healthcare capacity could also jeopardise treatment for those with COVID-19,” she said.

To date, at least 60 children have been killed in Gaza and another 444 have been injured in less than 10 days.

Nearly 30,000 children have been displaced and an estimated 250,000 children need mental health and protection services, added the statement.

At least four health facilities and 40 schools have been damaged. Some 48 schools which most of them run by The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) are being used as emergency shelters for families seeking refuge from the violence.