UN and UNICEF representatives launch appeal from Gaza for support for mental health, medical systems, schooling, access for long-term development after Israel’s 11-day bombing pushes besieged enclave to economic brink.
One million children in Gaza are in need of support, UNICEF Special Representative for Palestine Lucia Elmi has said, highlighting the critical need to support family centres that provide mental health and psychosocial support to children in the territory.
Elmi while addressing a press conference with Lynn Hastings, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Gaza on Wednesday, said that fellow Palestinians who are trying to ensure that Gaza is free of explosive remnants of war are real-life action heroes.
"Half of the population in the Gaza Strip are below the age of 18. So we are talking about one million children today in Gaza in need of our support," Elmi said.
"So it's really important that we continue to support our children and their families including the parents to detect signs of stress and trauma so they can be referred to centers like these and to the counselors to be provided support as soon as possible," she added.
The UN's top humanitarian officials were talking to the media after examining the damage caused by 11 days of Israeli air strikes that killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children.
More needs to be done
Hastings said more needs to be done while waiting for the fund.
"The international community will largely with the World Bank, the EU, and the United Nations will be doing an assesment, we are doing an assessment right now of the damages. And we will be looking at bringing more support going forward, so that we can rebuild," Hastings said.
Pledges by countries
In late May, the United Nations appealed for $95 million to help Palestinians over the next three months in Gaza and the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem,
Separately, Qatar has said it will provide $500 million to help rebuild Gaza, while the United States pledged an additional $75 million in development and economic aid to the Palestinians in 2021, $5.5 million in immediate disaster relief for Gaza, and $32 million to the UN Palestinian aid agency based there.