One million children are suffering from “unlivable” conditions in the Gaza Strip, according to Save the Children, an international charity that promotes children’s rights and provides aid worldwide.
“One million children in Gaza are living in dire conditions,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday. “Save the Children considers Gaza to be unlivable now.”
According to the charity, “60 percent of the sea around Gaza is contaminated with untreated sewage and over 90 percent of water sources [are] too contaminated for human consumption”.
The besieged Palestinian territory, where more than two million people live, has also been suffering from an energy crisis since mid-April due to a dispute over taxes between Hamas, which rules the enclave, and the occupied West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The continuing electricity crisis and “environmental crisis” has left the more than one million children in Gaza unable “to sleep, study or play”, Save the Children said.
According to the charity, more than 740 schools are struggling to function without electricity and most families receive only two to four hours of electricity each day.
Save the Children called on Israel to “lift the Gaza blockade and for Palestinian and Israeli authorities to provide basic services”, adding that lack of such services are contributing to growing mental health issues in the enclave.
“Gaza children are already suffering through a ten-year blockage and the constant threat of conflict,” Jennifer Moorhead Save the Children’s country directory for the occupied Palestinian Territories, said in a statement.
“Living without access to basic services like electricity is affecting their family life and mental well-being,” Moorehead said.
“We’re seeing increased levels of anxiety, aggression and mood swings.”
Israel has launched three offensives on Gaza since 2008, in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.