Umm-Al-Qura calendar

Children Being Killed

“The smallest coffins are the heaviest” – Ernest Hemingway. 

In this crisis, unfortunately, it is the children who are paying the heaviest price. Children make up about half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people. Since 7 October, at least 5,500 children have been killed, according to Palestinian officials. That is one Palestinian child killed every ten minutes. Another 1800 children are missing under the rubble and are believed to be dead. Around 9,000 have been injured, many with life-changing outcomes. In the words of the UN Secretary-General, Gaza has become “a graveyard for children.” 

Displacement

UNICEF estimates that hundreds of thousands of children and their families had to flee northern Gaza ahead of larger-scale attacks. More than half of Gaza’s population have had to leave or have lost their homes. Many people are forced to live in some type of emergency shelter. Some families have tried to squeeze into relatives’ and neighbours’ homes, and some have sought shelter in schools, some of which have been hit by strikes. Refugee camps have also been destroyed by bombing, causing more devastation and evacuation. The impact this crisis in Gaza has had on children’s lives is catastrophic. 

According to UNICEF, no place is safe for a child while this intense fighting continues. Homes, mosques, schools, and hospitals have been destroyed. Twenty-two of Gaza’s 36 hospitals, which were providing shelter to displaced people, are not functioning anymore. The remaining hospitals in the region are also dealing with strain and are in desperate need of fuel to keep their generators running, ensuring continuous power supply for life-saving equipment.

Risks to Survival

Children in Gaza are facing fear and hunger, disease, injury, and trauma. They are facing severe challenges to survival, which include a lack of access to basic necessities like food, water, shelter, medicinal supplies, clothing, warmth and electricity. The risk of starvation increased because of people having to leave their homes. According to the UN, Gaza’s civilians face “immediate possibility” of starvation.

Another serious challenge is the blockage of supply routes into Gaza, impacting the delivery of aid. UKIM is making substantial efforts to transport aid to Gaza. Please donate generously to one of UKIM’s Gaza emergency appeals and help alleviate the suffering of the affected people and children of Gaza. 

Trauma and Psychological Problems

This humanitarian crisis has seen Palestinian children’s basic rights denied, mainly the most basic right to live without harm, apart from the fulfilment of physical and emotional needs.

Children started to develop serious trauma symptoms within two weeks of war, according to a Palestinian psychiatrist. These include convulsions, bed-wetting, fear, aggressive behaviour, nervousness, and clingy behaviour. Having no safety or safe place has caused a general sense of horror among children as well as adults. Psychologists have also warned against the development of fear of darkness, general tension, flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance, difficulty sleeping and the other effects of trauma.

“For kids in Gaza, death has become an inevitable presence, a shadow that looms over their daily lives. It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’, but rather, ‘when’”, Ghada Ageel (visiting professor of political science at the University of Alberta) wrote in The Guardian. 

In these difficult times of crises in Gaza, support UKIM in extending its response to the ongoing crisis and making a donation today. 

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” (Al-Tirmidhi) 

Children Becoming Orphans

“It takes a village to raise a child” – (African proverb) 

Children need care and love not only from parents but also from the wider community to be raised as healthy, responsible, and educated adults. This is something Palestinian children are currently being denied because of the casualties happening on a daily basis in the Gaza war. Those left without a healthy parent or carer to look after them are at a greater risk of malnutrition, disease, violence, and mental illnesses. Their chances of undergoing good physical and mental development are slim. The warmth of being close to parents cannot be replaced. Even those children whose parents are alive are dealing with the effects of the injury or disease on the part of parents or carers.

With schools being bombed and used for shelter and basic survival at high risk, education seems out of the question – which will be one of the post-war challenges to provide skills and education to young children to prevent more misery and poverty.

According to UNICEF, “the cost to children and their communities of this violence will be borne out for generations to come.” 

Effects on Pregnant Women and Newborn Babies

In case of hospitals being attacked or evacuated, there is no adequate care or birthing facilities available for pregnant women. Babies are being born premature, mothers are giving birth without pain relief, and those in the final months are dealing with untold stress and anxiety. All of this is bound to have a profound effect on the health and development of newborn babies. There has been news of the tragic death of six babies, and 31 premature babies relocated from Al-Shia Hospital were thought to be at imminent risk of death. Even those who survive the immediate risks are faced with serious challenges to their health and long-term survival. In these dire and desperate circumstances, support UKIM help despatch necessary medical supplies and survival kits to Gaza.

Remember to make your donation to one of UKIM’s Gaza emergency appeals and play your part in providing some relief to those affected by this humanitarian crisis.

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