UNICEF: Children in the Gaza Strip facing malnutrition and disease

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Friday that after almost three months of war in Gaza, malnutrition and disease are creating a deadly cycle that threatens over 1.1 million children.

A total of 90% of the 1.1 million young people in the region are not fully supplied with nutrients, according to a UNICEF survey conducted on December 26.

“Children in the Gaza Strip face a deadly triple threat to their lives, as cases of diseases rise, nutrition plummets and the escalation in hostilities approaches its fourteenth week,” UNICEF said.

Israel has been waging war against the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip for almost three months now.

The number of Palestinians killed has risen to 22,600, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority. The war was triggered by the October 7 massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other groups in Israel. Around 1,200 people were killed.

“Children in Gaza are caught in a nightmare that worsens with every passing day,” said Catherine Russell, UNICEF’s executive director.

The report said that cases of diarrhoea in children under 5 years of age rose from 48,000 to 71,000 in just one week starting December 17, equivalent to 3,200 new cases of diarrhoea per day.

It added that displaced children and their families are unable to maintain the necessary hygiene levels needed to prevent disease, given the alarming lack of safe water and sanitation.

The report affirmed that prolonged diarrhoea put children at high risk of death.

“The futures of thousands more children in Gaza hang in the balance. The world cannot stand by and watch. The violence and the suffering of children must stop,” Russell said.

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