One million children need psychosocial support in Gaza, double the number before the war
she UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates more than one million children need urgent psychosocial support in the Gaza Strip, a number that represents almost the entire child population of Gaza and double that before the offensive began, when about 500,000 needed this help.
“The mental health of Palestinian children is severely affected by symptoms such as severe levels of persistent anxiety, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, emotional outbursts or panic attacks whenever they hear a bombardment,” The representative of UNICEF in Palestine, Jonathan Crickx, said in a press conference in Geneva.
Since the beginning of the conflict, UNICEF claims to have provided mental health and psychosocial support to more than 40,000 children, while Before the war this number was able to rise to almost 100,000 minors in care.
Crickx, who was in Gaza last week and saw the situation of minors on the ground, warned that the current humanitarian and security conditions prevent the continuation of providing this aid and He assured that the “only way” to ensure this aid is a “sustainable” ceasefire.
“Behind each of these statistics, there is a child who faces a new and terrible reality,” revealed the representative, who assured that the situation is “worse” for minors lost a parent or two, because that. Many family members cannot take care of them due to lack of food, water or shelter.
According to official sources, At least 17,000 minors in Gaza are currently unaccompanied (without their parents or family and without the care of any adult) or separated from their parents (not necessarily from other relatives).
The United Nations agency estimates that This figure represents 1% of the displaced populationwhich reaches 1.7 million people.
Because of this situation, the representative remembered that It is important to offer these minors not only psychosocial support, but also an identification and tracking service that allows them to find their families, as well as keep them connected to them so that they can be reunited once the situation improves.