The warfare between Israel and Hamas has had a sad impact on the lives of Palestinian youngsters in Gaza.
Warplanes have achieved airstrikes, and the Gaza Strip has been underneath an entire blockade, making it extremely hard for citizens to access fundamental requirements like meals and water.
Several neighborhoods in Gaza, such as al-Karama and Rimal, have experienced heavy bombardments, resulting in a rising number of civilian casualties, including hundreds of children.
As of Wednesday, the death toll in Gaza had reached at least 950 Palestinians, and among them, 260 were children. According to the Palestinian Health Information Center, 3,726 people were injured, of which 10 percent were children.
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According to Defense for Children International (DCI), an organization focused on child rights in Palestine, there have been six major military offensives in Gaza since 2005 that have claimed the lives of at least 1,000 Palestinian children.
Living conditions for children in Gaza are dire, and the blockade only worsens their vulnerability. This blockade, which has been in place since 2007, controls Gaza’s borders by land, sea, and air. The recent complete blockade has further limited the supply of electricity, gas, food, and water.
Due to those harsh conditions, children face difficulties in accessing easy water, sanitation, and safety from severe weather situations, all of which affect their bodily and mental fitness.
Food scarcity is also a growing concern, as the blockade limits access to essential supplies. In the past, children in Gaza have resorted to risky methods to obtain food or money for food, putting themselves at risk of being targeted by the Israeli military.
The loss of adequate water and sanitation facilities in Gaza has led to children laying low with sicknesses just like the flu and typhoid fever. Frequent electricity shortages worsen the situation, as children become more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
Mental health is a widespread subject, with many youngsters in Gaza experiencing despair, grief, worry, and even mind of suicide.
Witnessing the deaths of other children has left lasting emotional scars.
Education has been severely disrupted, with over 73,000 Palestinians seeking refuge in UNRWA-run schools. However, even schools are no longer safe spaces, as at least four schools in Gaza have been damaged by Israeli airstrikes.