Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UNICEF: 600K Children at Risk in Rafah

Mon 06 May 2024 | 07:38 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) issued a stark warning on Monday, stating that approximately 600,000 children in Rafah are at risk of a "new imminent catastrophe." This comes as Israel urges residents to evacuate the city, while maintaining its intent to invade.

UNICEF highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the concentration of a large number of vulnerable children in Rafah. With anticipated violence escalating and evacuation routes laden with mines, unexploded ordnance, limited infrastructure, and services in the relocation areas, UNICEF cautioned against the impending catastrophe for children.

The organization expressed concerns over potential civilian casualties and the complete destruction of essential services and infrastructure, upon the onset of military operations.

Catherine Russell, UNICEF's director, emphasized that Rafah is now a city of children, devoid of safe havens within Gaza. She warned that widespread military operations would subject children not only to violence but also chaos and panic, exacerbating their already vulnerable physical and mental states.

UNICEF reiterated its call for an immediate ceasefire, especially with 78,000 infants under the age of two and 175,000 children under five (nine out of every ten children) suffering from diseases or multiple infectious conditions.

Rafah serves as the last refuge for displaced individuals in the devastated Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the Israeli ground offensive on Gaza on October 27 last year, residents have been directed from the northern and central areas of the Strip to move southward, under the guise of "safe zones."

With its limited space of approximately 65 square kilometers accommodating over 1.5 million Palestinians, most of whom sought refuge after the 1948 Nakba, Rafah faces dire conditions. Thousands of tents scattered throughout the city's streets, with sidewalks turned into overcrowded markets.

The Rafah border crossing is a lifeline for Gaza's residents, serving as the sole land crossing for aid delivery and the evacuation of the injured. Any military attack on Rafah would result in deprivation of vital food and medical assistance.

Israeli aggression, both on land and at sea and in the air, has persisted in Gaza since October 7, resulting in the deaths of 34,735 civilians, mostly children and women, and the injury of 78,108 others, with thousands still trapped under the rubble.