We are extremely concerned by the continuing violence in Gaza.
We continue to call for a complete and immediate ceasefire and for the killing and maiming of all children to stop.
There are currently 3.1 million people in need nationally. Hundreds of thousands of children are affected by the violent conflict in Gaza and Israel. An unrelenting bombardment of Gaza followed the brutal attacks in Israel on 7 October. Violence is taking a terrible toll on the lives of children and families.
The triple threat of conflict, disease and malnutrition
Children in Gaza continue to face the ‘triple threat’ of conflict, disease and malnutrition. Conditions are worsened by the cold winter. More than 152,000 cases of diarrhea have been reported since mid-October 2023. Over half of these cases are among children under 5.
Various diseases are now widespread in Gaza including up to 215,000 cases of upper respiratory infection and numerous cases of jaundice, skin rashes, scabies, lice and chickenpox.
Gaza’s children face severe malnutrition
The entire population of Gaza is facing food insecurity, and children are hit particularly hard. All children under five in Gaza are at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death. In the coming weeks, at least 10,000 children under five will need therapeutic foods to help treat the most life-threatening form of malnutrition known as severe wasting, and will require urgent treatment. Children in southern Gaza are accessing only 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, well below the recommended requirements for survival.
Without the ability to produce or import food, the entire population of Gaza relies on aid to survive. Humanitarian aid alone cannot meet the essential needs of the population. UNICEF, WHO and WFP are calling for increased access to and mobility of supplies: the opening of new entry routes; more trucks being allowed through border checks each day; fewer restrictions on the movement of humanitarian workers and guarantees of safety for people accessing and distributing aid.
The scale of devastation
Homes and critical infrastructure lie in ruin. More than two-thirds of Gaza’s 36 hospitals, which are also being used as shelters for displaced people, are no longer functioning due to the lack of fuel, water, and vital medical supplies or because they sustained catastrophic damage in the attacks.
Supply routes into Gaza have been severely impacted, impacting food, water, electricity and medicine access for children and families. Over 1.9 million people, half of them children, have been displaced, as Israel continues a ground assault into one of the world’s most densely populated areas. Bombardments hamper efforts to set up service points for people in need, which endanger the lives of ordinary Gazans and humanitarian personnel striving to help them.
Despite the dangerous situation, we continue to deliver life-saving supplies such as medicine, nutrition supplies, clean water, and mental health support, but this meets only a tiny proportion of the need so far.
With supplies and living conditions rapidly declining, we need your help to reach more children and families. Please support the Children of Gaza Crisis Appeal.
We are calling for an immediate ceasefire, the establishment of humanitarian corridors to allow safe access, and the immediate and safe release of any child being held hostage. Schools, hospitals and shelters must be protected from attack – in accordance with international humanitarian law. And all children must be safe from harm.
Despite the challenging humanitarian and security situation, we continue to respond to the critical needs of children and families in Gaza. We are working with partners to deliver life-saving supplies, including medicines and clean water, as well as mental health support.
We are calling for the immediate cessation of hostilities, and for all parties to unconditionally protect children from harm no matter who or where they are. We are calling for the immediate and safe release of any children being held hostage in Gaza. Any children in custody of parties to the conflict should be protected, and immediately and unconditionally released.
We are an impartial, non-political humanitarian organisation. While we continue to report on and advocate for the protection of all children in both Gaza and Israel, our humanitarian response is driven by the need. Before this renewed violence, one million children needed humanitarian aid in Gaza and the West Bank. In high-income countries such as Israel, the State usually provides the supplies and services for children that we undertake or supports in lower income countries.
There is a National Committee for UNICEF in Israel – the Israeli Fund for UNICEF – that works to promote and raise awareness of children’s rights in Israel and to raise funds for our work across the world. You can find out more about its work here.
UNICEF has an ongoing humanitarian programme in Gaza and has continued to provide supplies and services during the escalation of hostilities.
Alongside our partners, we have helped to:
- Reach 11,314 children with eight different vaccines as part of the national routine Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI)
- provide 1.3 million people with access to safe drinking water
- provide lifesaving medical supplies for over 374,000 people
- supplied vital nutrition for children and babies, including high-energy biscuits for 11,760 children
- reach more than 400,000 people with hygiene and sanitation services including UNICEF supported cleaning services at 28 overcrowded shelters, to address solid waste and environmental hygiene needs, benefiting over 169,235 people, including 86,300 children
- expanded recreational activities to reach 40,898 children and adolescents
- reach over 55,000 people including 44,000 children with psychosocial support
- reach nearly 600,000 children and families with cash assistance – almost a quarter of the total population.
- supplied 600,000 doses of vaccines, nutritional supplements and vitamins to children and pregnant women
- provided winter clothing and blankets for children and babies
Operations were significantly scaled up during the humanitarian pause across Gaza. We moved 343 trucks into Gaza since 21 October.
In the last week, 25 trucks with critical emergency supplies have crossed the border, including:
- 180,000 doses of polio vaccines
- 12,480 sets winter clothing,
- 4,032 blankets,
- 55,000 jerry cans and 600 family hygiene kits that can help an estimated 3,600 people.
If you’re in the UK and would prefer to make a donation by phone, you can call our dedicated donation line: 0300 330 5699.
You can send in your cheque, made payable to UNICEF UK, to the Donations Team, UNICEF UK, 1 Westfield Avenue, Stratford, London E20 1HZ. Please include a covering letter with your name and address details.
You can help us reach more children affected by the crisis. Please donate today and help us protect children in Gaza and the wider State of Palestine.
For the first 6 months, monthly donations made to this appeal will go towards funding our work to support children in Gaza and the wider State of Palestine. After that, donations will go to support our work around the world. In the unlikely event that the funds raised exceed what’s needed for the appeal, we will direct any excess funds to support our work to help keep children safe and healthy around the world.