"I am very scared, I am waiting to die."
Despite numerous calls for a halt to hostilities from the international community, the conflict between the Israeli army and Palestinian groups continues, spilling the blood of over a thousand civilians, including children. In view of the dramatic consequences for the civilian population, Terre des hommes calls for a ceasefire and the respect of international humanitarian law. The Swiss child relief organisation insists on the need to access the population of Gaza in order to provide emergency humanitarian aid.
Terre des hommes (Tdh) has been active in the Gaza Strip for over forty years and is concerned about the fate of the children and the population who are paying a high price for the escalation between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. More than a third of the civilians who have died to date are children. A shocking situation for Tdh, which is working to offer them a future. In Gaza, the children are terrorised and exhausted. They wonder whether they will die or stay alive with each air strike. They have not slept for days. The health and safety of our colleagues on the ground are also a concern.
"I am very scared and very stressed, I am waiting to die. I have no safe place to go. I don't come out of my room because the bombing is non-stop", said a local social worker.
"The number of refugees in UNRWA schools has reached over 45,000 in a few days. Only 23 shelters are considered emergency stations. The majority of the shelters are improvised and not equipped. The high concentration of people in these places makes it extremely difficult to protect them from COVID-19 and to apply basic sanitary measures", adds Barbara Hintermann, Director General of Tdh.
About 40 schools have been affected since the beginning of the hostilities. The damage to water, hygiene and sanitation facilities is significant. Access to drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people is compromised. The closure of borders has created fuel and food shortages. Electricity supplies are uncertain, with a direct impact on already overwhelmed emergency services.
We are determined to ensure that children and their families receive the help they deserve and to protect them. We encourage the UN Security Council to vote quickly on a ceasefire. We call on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and ensure access to meet the urgent needs of Gaza's children at risk.