World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Palestinian Children in Need of 'Psycho-Social First Aid'

Gaza: UN Says Over 370,000 Palestinian Children in Need of 'Psycho-Social First Aid'

Seven-year-old Maha, who is paralyzed down the neck following an airstrike in Gaza, was allowed to leave Gaza on 20 August 2014 and is on her way to a hospital in Turkey to seek adequate treatment. Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

21 August 2014

The top UNICEF field officer in Gaza reported today that at least nine more Palestinian children have been killed there in the last 48 hours, bringing the total to 469 since early July, saying that there is not a single family in the tiny enclave that has not been touched by the current violence.

“The impact is has truly been vast, both at a very physical level, in terms of casualties, injuries, the infrastructure that's been damaged, but also importantly, emotionally and psychologically in terms of the destabilizing impact that not knowing, not truly feeling like there is anywhere safe place to go in Gaza,” Pernilla Ironside, Chief of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Gaza field office told a press conference today at UN Headquarters.

There isn’t a single family in Gaza who hasn’t experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement

“Children need to have that sense of security,” she added.

“All they want is a sense of safety,” continued Ms. Ironside, referring to the children of Gaza where nearly 280,000 people fled overnight in 83 UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools in search of safety. “They basically just want it to stop. 'Khalas.'”

She noted that at least nine more Palestinian children were killed as of this morning in the last 48 hours out of a total of 469 since 8 July. In addition, more than 3,000 Palestinian children have been injured. Her office, UNICEF Palestine, reported that 219 schools had been damaged by airstrikes and shelling, 22 completely destroyed.

“There isn't a single family in Gaza who hasn't experienced personally death, injury, the loss of their home, extensive damage, displacement,” she said.

UNICEF has 50 psychologists and counsellors in Gaza reaching out to children directly impacted by loss. They have reached 3,000, but the needs are “staggering” as parents are also in a state of trauma, Ms. Ironside said, noting that today 373,000 Palestinian children need “immediate psycho-social first aid.”

Another priority for UNICEF in Gaza is a “massive back-to-school campaign”, as August 24 is the start date for children to go back to school.

Ms. Ironside outlined a few of the myriad challenges – from dealing with the severe school shortages as a result of damage or because they are being used as shelters, to equipping affected teachers with coping skills to be able to provide nurturing environment for traumatized children.

As an illustration of the magnitude of damaged caused, she said it could take 18 years to rebuild the 17,000 housing units damaged during the current conflict.

As renewed violence earlier this week signalled the end of the latest Gaza ceasefire, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave disappointment at the return to hostilities and urged the parties to “reach an immediate understanding on a durable ceasefire which also addresses the underlying issues.”

Meanwhile, the head of the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory, Ramesh Rajasingham, also called today for an immediate cease-fire, and emphasized that Gaza civilians cannot keep moving between their homes and shelters each time conflict renews.

In the long run, he said, a permanent halt in violence stemming from a durable cease-fire is crucial to mitigating the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news