UNICEF spokesperson 'furious' over situation in Gaza

AFP , Tuesday 19 Dec 2023

Gaza is "the most dangerous place in the world" for a child, the UN children's agency spokesperson said Tuesday, expressing his rage at the situation there after returning from the Palestinian territory.

Palestinian children wounded
Palestinian children wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to the hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip. AP


"I'm furious that those with power shrug at the humanitarian nightmares unleashed on a million children," UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told a press briefing after spending nearly two weeks in Gaza.

He spoke of children having undergone amputations and who were then "killed in those hospitals" as the Israeli army bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued since October 7.

"I'm furious that there are more children hiding as we speak who will no doubt be hit and have amputations in the coming days," he said.

He said the Nasser hospital in southern Gaza's main city Khan Yunis, the largest facility still functioning, "was shelled twice" in the last 48 hours.

This hospital "not only shelters large numbers of children who had already been badly injured in attacks on their homes, but hundreds of women and children seeking safety," he said.

The Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7 killed 1,139 people in Israel, with 250 captured, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Since then, Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip has devastated large swathes of the coastal territory, and left at least 19,667 people dead, 70% of them women and children, with 52,586 people wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry's latest figures.

"I'm furious that Christmas is likely going to bring increased savagery and attacks as the world is distracted with its love and goodwill," Elder said, lamenting the deaths of thousands of children in Gaza who are "becoming statistics".

"I'm furious that hypocrisy is crushing empathy," he said of the situation, adding, "I'm furious at myself for not being able to do more."

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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