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UNRWA statistics show real impact of Israeli offensive in Gaza

BEIRUT |, with agencies - October 03, 2014, 15h20
 Gaza War Palestine
Palestinians searching the rubble of destroyed homes in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. © Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives
UNRWA released statistics on Thursday revealing the extent of damage caused to civilians and particularly children by the Israeli offensive in Gaza.
UNRWA spokesperson,Chris Gunness, said in a communiqué today that with Gaza students back in school, UNRWA are now ready to evaluate the impact of the 50 day war. As a result of the recent hostilities, 138 UNRWA students were killed since 8 July. An additional 814 were injured and 560 have become orphans. Gunness emphasised the real significance of these figures, “Behind each of these statistics is a heart-breaking,individual story, a dignity and a destiny that must be respected, even in death. Palestinian children are not statistics.”

“UNRWA remains committed to dealing with the psychological scars of the conflict, particularly among children,” he continued. In order to deal with these scars UNRWA teachers have undergone training on classroom-based psychosocial interventions implemented by the Agency's Community Mental Health Programme.

UNRWA has also been assessing refugee homes with the actual situation looking worse than previously estimated. “We have revised upwards our initial assessment of damage. According to estimates based on preliminary information, as many as 80,000 refugee homes were damaged or destroyed during the fifty days of hostilities, a much higher figure than the total number of 60,000 refugees and non-refugees - estimated earlier.” UNRWA estimates that at least 20,000 of these are uninhabitable.

Gunness lamented the fact that the majority of Gaza's 110,000 homeless people are children and re-affirmed UNRWA’s stance on the conflict, “UNRWA continues to advocate for the rapid rebuilding of Gaza, a lifting of the blockade and the full restoration of rights, including the rights of children. We also continue to call for accountability for violations of international law by all parties.”

According to the overall UN figure, 505 Palestinian children are confirmed as having been killed during the 50 day war. The cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,180, including 260 women. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom 66 were soldiers and one civilian fatality was a child.
#UNRWA, #UN, #United_Nations, #Israel, #gaza
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