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United Nations report says 70% of deaths in Gaza are women and children

Tuesday, 31 October 2023, 09:41
United Nations report says 70% of deaths in Gaza are women and children

Over 8,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October, when Hamas attacked Israel and after Israel Defence Forces’ retaliatory strikes, as noted by a UN report.

Source: report on the UN website

Details: The organisation referred to some humanitarian mission representatives working in Gaza. They, in turn, cite data from the Gaza Ministry of Health and humanitarian organisations.


Particularly, Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said the last three weeks "have been horrific", "with almost everyone in Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the region in mourning".

The official added that, according to Save the Children, nearly 70% of those killed in Gaza are children and women. The organisation reported on 29 October that almost 3,200 children were killed in Gaza in just three weeks, exceeding the number of children killed annually in conflict zones around the world since 2019.

Lazzarini stressed that such frightening figures cannot be "collateral damage", adding that the military has no mercy on churches, mosques, hospitals and UNRWA facilities, including those that shelter displaced people, as many people have been killed and injured even in places protected by international humanitarian law.


"The current siege imposed on Gaza is collective punishment," he said, adding that basic services are failing after two weeks of complete siege, with medicine, food, water and fuel becoming scarce and the streets overflowing with sewage.

Catherine Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), stated that, based on data from the Palestinian Health Ministry, over 8,300 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including over 3,400 children, while over 6,300 children were injured.

Quote from Russell: "This means that more than 420 children are being killed or injured in Gaza each day. A number which should shake each of us to our core."

Details: The official also stressed that over 30 Israeli children have been killed, and at least 20 more remain hostage in the Gaza Strip.

The UN also stressed that over one million people had been displaced from north to south in three weeks. Still, the south was also subject to bombardment, which killed many people, so "no place is safe in Gaza".

Lazzarini said that over 670,000 displaced people are now living in overcrowded schools and UNRWA buildings due to forced displacement, where they face terrible unsanitary conditions and limited food and water supplies.

The UN representative added that the latest blow was this weekend's communication blackout, which added to the panic and suffering of people in Gaza as they were unable to contact their families to find out whether they were alive or not.

Lazzarini also reported that UNRWA had lost 64 employees in the past three weeks, with the most recent tragedy occurring "two hours ago" when his colleague Samir, along with his wife and eight children, perished.

"This is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time," he said.

Lazzarini stressed that his 13,000 colleagues in Gaza, who have maintained 150 UNRWA shelters, kept one-third of health centres open, managed 80 mobile medical teams, facilitated the entry of humanitarian convoys and distributed the remaining fuel to hospitals, bakeries and shelters, will soon be unable to work as they run out of fuel, water, food and medicine.

Quote from Lazzarini: "Today, Gazans feel that they are not treated as other civilians. Most of them feel trapped in a war they have nothing to do with. They feel the world is equating all of them to Hamas. This is dangerous. An entire population is being dehumanised."

Details: Russell added that what little clean water is left in Gaza is rapidly running out, and over 2 million people are in dire need of drinking water.

Lisa Doughten, Director of the Humanitarian Financing and Resource Mobilisation Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, described the healthcare system as being in a state of collapse, saying that patients were lying on the floor and in corridors, and surgeons operated without anaesthesia.

She said that 5,500 of around 50,000 pregnant women are due to give birth in the next 30 days. The lives of 1,000 dialysis patients and 130 premature babies in incubators are hanging in the balance due to the improper operation of the hospitals' backup generators.

They all called for increased humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip. Specifically, to immediately adopt a resolution that "reminds parties of their obligations under international law", calling for a ceasefire, requiring parties to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, and demanding the immediate and safe release of all hostages.

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