Families in Gaza face “triple threat” of war, disease, hunger: UN

(Xinhua) — Families in the Gaza Strip are facing the “triple threat” of conflict, disease from a lack of safe water, and hunger due to food shortages, a United Nations (UN) official warned Friday.

Meanwhile, the nightmare continues for the remaining Israeli children held hostage in Gaza, she said, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating. Lucia Elmi, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Special Representative to Palestine, told a press briefing from Jerusalem via video-link that she had just returned from spending a week in Gaza. Thousands of children have already died, and thousands more will follow if three urgent problems are not immediately addressed, she said.

These are safety from bombardments, logistics for aid delivery, and the resumption of the commercial sector. Elmi told reporters that in the last two weeks alone, cases of diarrhea among children in Gaza had almost doubled to 70,000. Some 135,000 children are also at risk of severe malnutrition. The official noted that an immediate and long-lasting ceasefire is the only way to end the killing and wounding of children and families, and to enable the urgent delivery of desperately-needed humanitarian aid.

Elmi said that all crossings into the Gaza Strip should re-open, the approval process for aid needs to be faster, civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals must be protected, and access granted to the north of the Gaza Strip so as to reach vulnerable children and families. The abducted Israeli children should also be unconditionally and safely released, she added. This Sunday will mark 100 days since Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups launched their attack on Israel. So far, 1,200 Israelis have been killed and around 250 taken hostage.

Since Israel launched its military response, in 14 weeks more than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed, around two-thirds of them women and children.


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