Gaza humanitarian crisis deepens as fighting rages on across the Strip
13 Dec 2023
Israel’s retaliation for the attacks has led to a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza where some 1.9 million people, the vast majority of the population, have been displaced, aid operations are severely impeded by the fighting and only a bare minimum of fuel and relief items have been coming in.
Education Cannot Wait has announced an initial US$10 million First Emergency Response grant to urgently support mental health and psychosocial services and protective learning opportunities for crisis-affected girls and boys, and generate global funding support for innocent children whose mental health and education during their formative years is at massive risk.
"The children in Gaza have gone through hell and have paid an unprecedented price in this brutal conflict. Psychological support and education offer children the opportunity to tap into their extraordinary resilience and hold on to hope. Together, let us ensure that every child in Gaza has the chance to learn, to dream and to build a better future. They deserve nothing less. Thank you for standing in solidarity with Gaza's children," said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
Initial assessments show that over 90% of children in Gaza are demonstrating acute signs of stress and trauma as a result of what they are witnessing and suffering through – an unimaginable horror – and the crisis is also impacting the wellbeing of teachers and other educational workers and humanitarians.
"In addition to calling for massive additional funding, ECW urges respect for the UN Charter and international humanitarian law, universal human rights and calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire," said Yasmine Sherif, Executive Director of Education Cannot Wait, the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.
All education facilities in Gaza are closed – and many are being used as shelters and are not safe due to damage inflicted by airstrikes in the ongoing conflict. In all, the education of over 625,000 students has been brutally interrupted. Disruption to schooling has increased the risk of severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Orphaned children are particularly susceptible to these risks. Without parents, who shall console them during their darkest hours?
Women and children account for the majority of those killed; meanwhile, the conflict has also increased risks of gender-based violence for girls and women.
All activities through this new grant will be delivered through the UN system to ensure alignment with humanitarian principles and accountability to affected populations. Funding will be strictly managed and utilized by UN agencies only. ECW is also working with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in coordinating efforts to mobilize additional financial support for locally identified education needs.
The UN and partners are for US$294 million to address the most urgent needs of 1.26 million people in Gaza and the West Bank for three months. So far, a third of the total has been pledged. UNRWA is urgently seeking$104 million to cover urgent food, non-food, health, shelter and protection needs for persons seeking safety in UNRWA shelters across the Gaza Strip and another 250,000 Palestine refugees within the community.
SOURCE: Education Cannot Wait