Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · Geneva

15 August 2006

Geneva press briefing



Humanitarian Assistance to Gaza

Michael Bociurkiw from UNICEF said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was slowly becoming a children’s catastrophe given the fact that last month alone 38 children had been killed; that was the highest number of children killed since the beginning of the
intifada. Of this number 25 per cent were below the age of ten. In addition to the children who faced physical risks, UNICEF was concerned about those who had been inflicted by what they refer to as the “invisible injuries”, namely the psychosocial trauma resulting from the conflict. UNICEF had been providing psychosocial counseling to children and caregivers to help them recovery from this trauma. UNICEF’s message was that all sides had a responsibility to protect children in Gaza who numbered around 800,000. Mr. Bociurkiw added that at the end of the week UNICEF would be issuing a donor update providing more specific figures on UNICEF’s activities in Gaza.

Responding to a question, Mr. Bociurkiw said UNICEF’s main areas of responsibility in Gaza addressed education, child protection, water and sanitation, and health and nutrition needs. Some three-quarters of the population in Gaza were totally reliable on outside assistance, he said.

Asked to elaborate what was meant by “all sides had a responsibility to protect children in Gaza”, while illustrating a point through by drawing attention to the number of unexploded ordnance left behind in Gaza thus putting children at risk, Mr. Bociurkiw said everyone had a role to protect the most vulnerable in their situation; in the case of Gaza these most vulnerable were the 800,000 children who lived there.

For information media - not an official record