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War orphaned Gazan children are hungry, injured, and alone.


The month-old baby girl in an incubator was born during the Gaza war and never met a parent.

The baby was born via Caesarean section following her mother, Hanna, being injured in an Israeli air strike. Hanna's life ended before she had the opportunity to give a name to her daughter.

"The newborn is commonly referred to as the daughter of Hanna Abu Amsha," states nurse Warda al-Awawda, who is currently providing care for the infant at the al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, located in central Gaza."

Amidst the tumultuous consequences of the ongoing conflict, medical professionals and rescuers frequently encounter difficulties in locating carers for orphaned children, as entire families are nearly eradicated.

"Her family is currently unresponsive," the nurse informs us. "No members of her family have arrived and we are unaware of the whereabouts of her father."

The brutal war has caused significant devastation to the lives of children, who constitute almost half of Gaza's population of 2.3 million.

Israel claims to make efforts to minimise harm to civilians, such as by issuing evacuation orders. However, Palestinian health officials report that over 11,500 individuals under the age of 18 have been killed. Furthermore, a significant number of individuals have sustained injuries, with a considerable portion of these injuries having a profound and lasting impact on their lives.

Obtaining precise statistics is challenging, however, a recent report by Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, a non-governmental organisation, reveals that over 24,000 children have experienced the loss of one or both parents.

Ibrahim Abu Mouss, a mere 10 years of age, sustained grievous injuries to his leg and stomach as a result of a missile striking his residence. However, his tears are shed in mourning for his deceased mother, grandfather, and sister.

"They repeatedly informed me that they were receiving medical care on the upper floor of the hospital," Ibrahim recounts, while his father tightly grasps his hand.

"However, my discovery of the truth occurred upon viewing photographs stored on my father's mobile device." I wept profusely, causing aching sensations throughout my entire body.

The Hussein family's cousins previously engaged in playful activities, but they now sit in a sombre manner beside the sandy graves where certain family members are interred near a school that has been converted into a shelter in central Gaza. Each individual has experienced the loss of either one or both of their parents.

"The missile landed directly on my mother's lap, resulting in her body being fragmented into multiple pieces." Abed Hussein, a resident of al-Bureij refugee camp, recounts the arduous task of retrieving her body parts from the debris of the house over the course of several days.

"Upon receiving the news of my brother, uncle, and entire family's demise, I experienced an intense sensation akin to my heart haemorrhaging with fervent flames."

Abed, plagued by exhaustion and haunted by the cacophony of Israeli shelling, experiences a profound sense of isolation during his sleepless nights.

"During the time when my parents were alive, I was able to experience restful sleep. However, since their untimely demise, I have been unable to attain a state of slumber." "I used to share a bed with my father," he clarifies.

Abed and his two remaining siblings are under the care of their grandmother, however, their daily existence is exceedingly arduous.

"There is a lack of sustenance, both in terms of food and water," he states. "I am experiencing abdominal discomfort as a result of consuming seawater."

Kinza Hussein's father perished while attempting to procure flour for bread-making. The sight of his lifeless body, transported back for interment following his demise from a missile strike, continues to torment her.

"He was blind and his tongue was severed," she recalls.

"Our sole desire is for the cessation of the war," she expresses. "All things are melancholic."

Almost the entire population of Gaza currently depends on humanitarian assistance for their basic necessities. Based on data from the United Nations, approximately 1.7 million individuals have been displaced, with a significant number being compelled to relocate multiple times in their quest for security.

However, Unicef, the United Nations' children's agency, expresses its primary apprehension for approximately 19,000 children who are bereaved or have become solitary without any adult guardianship.

"A significant number of these children have been discovered amidst the debris or have experienced the loss of their parents due to the bombardment of their residence," states Jonathan Crickx, the head of communications for Unicef Palestine, speaking to me from Rafah in the southern region of Gaza. Additional instances have been discovered at Israeli checkpoints, hospitals, and in public areas.

"The youngest individuals frequently struggle to articulate their name, and even older ones are typically in a state of shock, making it exceedingly challenging to identify them and potentially reunite them with their extended family."

Although it is possible to locate relatives, they may not always be suitably positioned to provide assistance in caring for children who have lost a loved one.

"It is important to consider that they frequently find themselves in a highly precarious situation," Mr. Crickx remarks.

"They may have their own offspring to attend to, and it can be arduous, if not unfeasible, for them to provide care for these unaccompanied and separated minors."

Amidst the commencement of the war, SOS Children's Villages, a non-profit organisation collaborating with Unicef at the local level, has been actively involved in providing shelter and care for 55 children, all of whom are below the age of 10. The organisation has recruited extra specialised personnel in Rafah to provide psychological assistance.

An experienced SOS staff member informs me about a preschooler who was abandoned at a security checkpoint. She was admitted with selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that rendered her incapable of verbalising the events involving her and her family. However, she is currently showing improvement after receiving gifts and engaging in play with the other children she resides with.

Unicef asserts that a vast majority of children in Gaza are currently in need of mental health assistance.

Amidst the devastation of their lives, even in the event of a long-lasting cessation of hostilities, numerous individuals will be burdened with profound losses that they will find arduous to surmount.

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