United Nations Children’s Fund

UNICEF speaks to memory of boys killed in Gaza

The killing of three young brothers in Gaza City yesterday has shocked the Palestinian community across the political divide and exposed, once again, the plight of children living in the volatile region. “I am shocked by the tragic event,” stated UNICEF’s Special Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Dan Rohrmann. “This is another event highlighting the serious deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory - and with tragic consequences for civilians, including children.” Masked gunmen shot at a car carrying the three boys, between the ages of four and nine, on their way to school. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. 

Renewed violence in Gaza raises serious concerns for children's safety

Renewed violence in Gaza is again raising serious concerns about the welfare of civilians, including children. Now in its sixth day, the armed conflict has claimed the lives of an estimated 50 Palestinians - half of them civilians, and 8 of them children. “The situation in northern Gaza, and in particular in Beit Hanoun, is very serious and is getting worse,” says UNICEF Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory Dan Rohrmann. “We have seen an extraordinary number of children being killed just in the last five days. There are tanks everywhere, shelling, house demolitions and there is fighting in the streets. People are getting quite desperate.” 

Water and hygiene aid helps Lebanese families cope in war's aftermath

EL KHIAM - This southern Lebanese border town was severely damaged during the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. No building was left untouched. More than 70 per cent of El Khiam’s houses and three of its five schools were destroyed. Only one of the town’s four health centres is functioning, and to make matters worse, water sources and water treatment plants were also damaged during the hostilities. It could be a long time before they are repaired, and in the meantime there is no running water. 

The long road back to school for children in southern Lebanon

Now that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has ceased, the children of southern Lebanon are trying to return to normal life. But the challenges are enormous. In the village of Srifa, half the buildings have been damaged or destroyed. The local high school is unusable after a bomb hit the house next door. A massive crater has dented the ground just a few metres away. The explosion shattered every pane of glass in the building. Exterior walls were blown in and cracked walls lean precariously. The classrooms are full of debris. 

Six months without pay sparks teachers' strike in Gaza and West Bank

Just days into the start of the new school term most schools in Gaza are closed due to a strike by government workers, including teachers, who haven’t been paid for six months. 750,000 pupils are affected. The strike is open-ended and currently most of the 1,726 public schools in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are either partially or completely closed. At Azzoun Itmeh School for Girls in the Northern West Bank, only 7 out of 22 teachers turned up for work on Sunday. A similar story is being played out across the region with teachers struggling to get by. Around 70 per cent of all students in oPt are affected by the strikes. 

Students face challenges as new school year begins in Gaza and the West Bank

Ongoing violence in the West Bank and Gaza is threatening to disrupt the new school term as more than 1.6 million children prepare to return to classes. The situation is compounded by poverty; teachers haven’t been paid for six months and are threatening to strike while many families can’t afford the cost of fees or uniforms. UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and other partners are launching a Back to School campaign with aid for those most vulnerable. UNICEF’s Dan Rohrmann, says school is a vital lifeline to these children who are living in daily fear and danger – 39 were killed in July alone. 

International blockades threaten Palestinian schools

Palestinian parents are huddling on street corners, in cafes and in mosques and talking nervously about the looming crisis in their children’s education. The five month long financial blockade on the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) is now threatening to shut down the education system. With an alarmingly high unemployment rate of 40 per cent and most civil servants, including most teachers without paychecks for five months now, few households can afford the expense of sending the students back to school when the summer holidays end. 

On an aid convoy to war-torn Bint Jbeil

The first consignment of UN aid arrived yesterday in the shattered town of Bint Jbeil, close to the Lebanese border with Israel and scene of some of the fiercest fighting during the recent conflict. UNICEF Communication Officer Simon Ingram travelled with the convoy and filed this report: It’s 8 a.m. and our convoy of 16 battered trucks is lined up on the Tyre seafront. I am in the rear escort vehicle, an armoured Land Cruiser, in line with the tight security rules that apply to a zone of recent conflict. We set off on the road heading east, joining a line of Lebanese army troop carriers and armoured personnel carriers deploying to the same area. 

Crisis worsens Gaza's already severe water shortage

The water point in the southern Gaza town of Joret al Lout is the only place to get drinkable water for the more than 10,000 people who live there. Half of those in the poor and densely populated community are children. Many can be seen at the water point, filling bottles and jerry cans. Children like Mahmoud Abdullah, 13, help as best they can with the severe shortage of safe water. “We are filling water bottles because we have no drinkable water at home, and if water is available it is salty,” says Mahmoud. People in Joret al Lout have not had drinkable running water in their homes since 28 June, when the region’s only power plant was bombed. 

UN Agencies: Deeply alarmed by continuing violence in Gaza

The United Nations humanitarian agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory are deeply alarmed by the impact continuing violence is having on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, which has resulted in a sharp decline in the humanitarian situation facing 1.4 million people, more than half of them children. We are concerned that with international attention focusing on Lebanon, the tragedy in Gaza is being forgotten. We estimate that since 28 June, 175 Palestinians have been killed, including approximately 40 children and eight women, and over 620 injured in the Gaza Strip.