Gaza: more than 17 thousand children left without parents and guardians

Газа: более 17 тысяч детей остались без родителей и опекунов

Shelter for displaced people in Gaza. Gaza: more than 17 thousand children left without parents and guardians Peace and Security

Officers from the United Nations Refugee Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) visited one of the now-abandoned schools in Khan Younis over the weekend, where thousands of people had fled to escape Israeli bombing.

“Before that, they took refuge in the schoolyard, in classrooms, and used all the external space. Now there’s nothing left. Everyone evacuated very quickly,” said UNRWA spokeswoman Louise Waterage.

In a post on social platform X, she described that there were children’s shoes scattered everywhere.

“There is no one here now, but you can see how quickly people evacuated. There are shoes, combs, toothbrushes, even leftover food on the floor,” Wateridge said. Her cellphone footage shows extensive damage to buildings.

Meanwhile, at the Khan Younis training center, where an UNRWA official said at least 40,000 people were sheltering , “entire rooms burned down, things were scattered everywhere.” “The children’s graves in the yard said, ‘Your sister misses you,’” Wateridge said. The center came under direct fire and was then besieged by the military.

According to UNRWA, since Israel began military action in response to Hamas attacks on October 7, In Gaza, 165 agency facilities were damaged. Attacks in southern Israel last year killed about 1,250 people and took more than 250 hostage.

Gaza health authorities say at least 34,480 Palestinians and more than 77,640 were injured.

According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 13 thousand children died in the enclave, and at least 17 thousand were separated from their families or lost their parents and guardians . Meanwhile, across Gaza, at least 70 percent of all homes have been destroyed or damaged.

UNICEF has distributed more than 203,000 items of clothing to children under the age of 17 as part of UN humanitarian assistance.

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