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Israel-Gaza: spiralling violence and families living in fear

(Pic: MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)

The spiralling violence in Gaza and southern Israel has meant that families are living in fear as rockets and bombs rain down on them.

Children suffer the most in situations like these – our teams on the ground in Gaza report that children are hearing and witnessing terrifying things, putting them at great risk of trauma.

Children and families in southern Israel are also terrified by the hundreds of rockets that have landed there.

Distress and fear

Over 100 people, including at least 22 children, are reported to have been killed, and over 600 injured, in Gaza in the last few days.

Many more children on both sides of the conflict are experiencing heightened distress, unable to sleep because of the ongoing airstrikes.

They can’t leave their homes or places of shelter, and their parents only venture outside to buy food and essential supplies.

Damage to homes, schools and hospitals

The shelling and bombing have hit residential areas and have almost certainly resulted in damage or destruction in civilian areas, including people’s homes; there is also probable damage to markets, schools and other infrastructure.

In Gaza, hospitals were under strain before this recent conflict: there are 30% fewer essential medicines than there should be.

The recent escalation has pushed already depleted institutions to breaking point, with hospitals estimated to have only a week’s supply of fuel left.

Addressing children’s needs

Save the Children is one of the largest aid agencies working in the Gaza strip, addressing the immediate humanitarian and long-term development needs of children and adults there.

We have over 30 years’ experience on the ground there, and are monitoring the situation closely and preparing to respond as needed.

Our primary aim is to get vital aid to suffering families, and we call on all parties to stop the violence, and in particular to end the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, while also re-establishing a dialogue with a view to putting in place the longer-term measures that will allow civilians on both sides to live without fear.

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