In a heart-wrenching report from Save the Children, the violence in Gaza over the past three weeks has claimed the lives of more than 3,195 children, a number that far surpasses the annual toll of child fatalities in conflict zones around the world since 2019.
The catastrophic situation, described in an urgent press release from Save the Children on October 29, 2023, sheds light on the grave magnitude of the crisis unfolding in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.
Since October 7, the total count of children reported dead stands at 3,257, including casualties in the West Bank and Israel.
The Ministries of Health in Gaza and Israel have provided these harrowing statistics, highlighting the devastating impact on the youngest and most vulnerable members of society.
Children now make up over 40% of the 7,703 total fatalities in Gaza, with more than a third of all deaths spanning across the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel.
An additional 1,000 children are feared dead, presumed buried under the rubble, indicating that the actual death toll could be significantly higher.
In response to the crisis, Save the Children has issued a stark warning, emphasizing the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire as Israeli forces announce "expanded ground operations" in the Gaza Strip.
The organization fears that this escalation will lead to more deaths, injuries, and trauma, particularly among children.
Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory, expressed the organization's deep concern and anguish over the situation, stating, “Three weeks of violence have ripped children from families and torn through their lives at an unimaginable rate.
These are grave violations of epic proportions...A ceasefire is the only way to ensure their safety. The international community must put people before politics—every day spent debating is leaving children killed and injured.”
The organization also reports that at least 6,360 children in Gaza have been injured, with additional casualties in the West Bank and Israel. Over 200 individuals, including children, remain hostages inside Gaza.
The health infrastructure in Gaza is on the brink of collapse, with a third of hospitals non-operational due to electricity cuts and a total siege by the Government of Israel, preventing the entry of essential goods like fuel and medicine.
Médecins Sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders reports that this has led to a shortage of anaesthesia, forcing medical personnel to amputate children without pain relief.
In their urgent plea, Save the Children calls for an immediate ceasefire and implores all parties involved in the conflict to prioritize the protection of children's lives.
The international community is urged to support these efforts, fulfilling their obligation to safeguard the most vulnerable.
As the world grapples with this unfathomable tragedy, the immediate cessation of violence and a united front to protect children become imperative. The lives of thousands of innocent children hang in the balance, and the time to act is now.