UNICEF described Gaza as the "most dangerous place to be a child.”
Subsequently a statement was issued by Catherine Russell, UNICEF executive director, who warned that over 1.1 million children are threatened by intensifying conflict, malnutrition, and disease in the Gaza Strip. "Children in Gaza are caught in a nightmare that worsens with every passing day," Russell said.
Reem Alsalem, UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said that an estimated 67 percent of those killed in Gaza were women and children. “Women killed in this conflict have come from all walks of life, and included journalists, medical staff, United Nations personnel, and members of civil society organizations.”
According to UN Women, 951,490 women and girls have been displaced from their homes, and 2,784 women became widows and new heads of households, following their male partner’s death. UN Women went on to say that two mothers are killed every hour in Gaza, and 12,882 women and children have already perished in the war. An additional 10,022 children have lost their fathers.
Health conditions have deteriorated in the midst of the calamity that befell Gaza. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that about 15% of pregnant women may experience pregnancy-related or birth-related complications requiring medical care; but that with the conflict, that care may be lost, which could have a negative outcome on the pregnancy, the health of the mother, and the health of the baby. The UN estimates around 50,000 pregnant women currently live in Gaza, with more than 180 births taking place every day amid the decimation of Gaza’s healthcare system.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) says its doctors and midwives “are doing everything possible to provide care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the seven operational UNRWA health centres” – down from 22 before the Israeli assault on Gaza began.
The Gaza health system is suffering also due to the lack of pediatric care. The World Health Organization (WHO) says diarrhea cases surged 66 percent among children. Meningitis, chickenpox, and jaundice are also reported.
The plight of children in Gaza has received less media coverage than the war itself, according to a study by the nonprofit news organization Intercept. Only two headlines out of over 1,100 news articles in the study mentioned the word “children” related to Gazan children.
World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay reiterated the WCC’s call for an immediate ceasefire. “Civilians, especially women and children, are bearing the brunt of the war, and their medical needs must be met,” he said. “The international community,, the United Nations as well as governments, are called upon to protect the dignity of all human beings created in the image of God.”