Statement by UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power
DUBLIN, 14 May 2018 – UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Peter Power has given his reaction to developments in Gaza: “I am absolutely horrified by today’s atrocities. This is another tragedy on top of many tragedies to befall the children of Gaza.
“I have been to Gaza with UNICEF and I have seen for myself the appallling condtions that children are living in. Three wars in ten years have caused the destruction of basic health facilities, of schools, of family homes and of the basic services children are entitled to. This is the very last thing they need.
“One of the most basic rules in war is the protection of children. That norm is being disregarded, with children living out their lives on the very front line of attacks. Enough is enough. Stop attacks on children.”
UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere, recently (May 4) commented on the deaths of children during peaceful protests in Gaza: “The escalating violence in Gaza has exacerbated the suffering of children whose lives have already been unbearably difficult for several years. Half of all children depend on humanitarian assistance, and one in four needs psychosocial care.
“In addition to physical injuries, children are showing signs of severe distress and trauma.
“Power cuts and shortages of fuel, medicine and equipment are straining an already fragile health system and complicating access to treatment for the injured.
“Schools are overcrowded and operating on triple shifts, limiting children’s learning prospects.
“The minimal power supply in Gaza has disrupted water and sanitation services, severely reducing the availability of drinking water – nine out of 10 families do not have regular access to safe water.
“UNICEF continues its lifesaving assistance for children in health, water, sanitation, hygiene, education and protection.
“UNICEF renews its calls for all those with influence to protect children and keep them out of harm’s way. Children belong in schools, homes and playgrounds – they should never be targeted or encouraged to participate in violence.”
UNICEF is on the ground in Gaza, working with partners to alleviate the suffering of children affected by conflict. The humanitarian response has focused on life-saving healthcare, essential medicines, and emergency medical teams. UNICEF has also provided mental health and psychological support for children affected by the violence.
Humanitarian aid alone is not enough. Children need peace and protection at all times.
Notes to editors
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, to build a better world for everyone. For more, visit www.unicef.ie
For more information, please contact:
Aedín Donnelly, Communications and Media Manager for UNICEF Ireland | firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +353 1 809 0281 | Mob: +353 85 1395272