Child deaths in Gaza to rapidly increase amid tight Israeli siege: UNICEF

UNITED NATIONS  -  The UN Children Fund (UNICEF) has warned that child deaths will “rapidly increase” in Gaza if hu­manitarian aid deliveries do not immediately in­crease, adding to pressure on the Israeli gov­ernment to end obstacles to aid for desperate Palestinians in in the besieged enclave. 

“The child deaths we feared are here,” Adele Kho­dr, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement issued on Sunday. Over 30,000 Palestinians, mostly women and chil­dren, have been killed in Gaza amidst the conflict, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, includ­ing over 100 civilians shot by the Israeli army while seeking aid on Thursday. In a statement, Khodr said that numerous reported child deaths in Gaza are ‘man-made, predictable and entirely preventable. 

“The widespread lack of nutritious food, safe wa­ter and medical services, a direct consequence of the impediments to access and multiple dangers facing UN humanitarian operations, is impacting children and mothers, hindering their ability to breastfeed their babies, especially in the Northern Gaza Strip,” she said in a statement. “People are hungry, ex­hausted and traumatized. Many are clinging to life.” The Biden administration appears to have increased pressure on the Israeli government in recent days over humanitarian aid, launching an airdrop cam­paign in Gaza to deliver aid and stepping up state­ments critical of the Israeli government. 

Earlier Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris urged the Israeli government to increase aid deliv­eries amid a “humanitarian catastrophe,” saying there are ‘no excuses’.

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