Five-year old Zacharia Abu Taweida, is sitting in the UN-run school set up as a shelter for displaced families in Gaza City. He uses sign language to tell a worker from UNICEF’s partner, the Atfaluna Society for Hearing-impaired children, about the night that he and his family fled their home in the city’s Shejaya area during heavy bombardment.
Zacharia, like his father and 12-year-old sister Aya, was born deaf. “I was sitting on the floor and was terrified at the sight of the blood on my father’s face. I could feel a great pressure on my head and the walls were shaking,” Zacharia said. “We ran out on the street. I was running as fast as I could and I saw dust and shells falling from the sky. I was crying the whole time.”
His father is in the hospital, and their home has been completely destroyed. Zacharia feels safe in the shelter but wants to be back in his own home.
A pause in fighting has helped UNICEF bring life-saving assistance to children in Gaza, but a sustained peace is needed to reach hundreds of thousands more children who desperately need support to rebuild their lives.