Gazan children to become ‘lost generation’: UNRWA chief

Without an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, children are at grave risk of becoming a "lost generation" due to pervasive hunger and psychological trauma in the war-torn enclave, warns the head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Children are always "the first and the worst sufferers" in conflict and wars and Gaza is no exception, Philippe Lazzarini said in a social media post late on June 13.

"Children have gone through what no child anywhere in the world should see or undergo. Far too many were killed, far too many were injured and far too many will be scarred for life," the UNRWA chief said.

Lazzarini underlined the dire humanitarian crisis facing the children of Gaza, who are subjected to relentless bombardment and hostilities on a daily basis, causing severe emotional and psychological distress.

"Those who survived are in deep trauma."

He emphasized that young Gazans have been deprived of nearly a year of formal education as a direct consequence of the ongoing conflict.

The UNRWA chief lamented that the war has usurped their childhoods in many respects. He called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a ceasefire to mitigate the escalating humanitarian catastrophe.

"Their schools have been destroyed, and they lost a whole school year, with no education or play. The war robbed the children of Gaza of their childhood."

"Without a ceasefire, they will become a lost generation, easy to fall prey to exploitation," Lazzarini said.

Israel's retaliatory military offensive has left at least 37,232 people dead in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Eight months into the war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a...

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