On the record quote from UNRWA Spokesman, Chris Gunness…

With 241,000 children back in UNRWA schools to continue their education, UNRWA now has a more accurate picture of the impact of the 50-day war on students and their families. We can confirm that 138 UNRWA students were killed since 8 July. An additional 814 were injured and 560 have become orphans as a result of the recent hostilities. Family life for so many has been devastated. 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. During the past week, the Agency’s Community Mental Health Programme implemented more training for UNRWA teachers on providing classroom-based psychosocial interventions. The training at schools included stress management skills for teachers, life skills education for elementary students, and structured recreational activities for preparatory students.

Meanwhile, UNRWA’s assessment of refugee homes continued over the past week and 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. We estimate that at least 20,000 of these are uninhabitable.

The majority of Gaza’s 110,000 homeless people are children. They are being denied the space which children the world over take for granted, a place where their humanity is nurtured and developed. 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.

Background Information:

According to the overall UN figure, 505 Palestinian children are confirmed 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

Christopher Gunness | Spokesperson, Director of Advocacy and Strategic Communications

UNRWA | Office of the Commissioner General | Jerusalem
t: +972 2 589 0267 | m: +972 54 240 2659 | f: +972 2 589 0240
e: c.gunness@unrwa.org | Skype: chrisrobertgunness l Twitter: @ChrisGunness