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Israel-Gaza Ceasefire: Blockade Now Needs to be Lifted to Avoid Humanitarian Catastrophe

WASHINGTON, Aug. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Save the Children welcomes with relief the much-needed ceasefire agreement between the Israeli government and Palestinian representatives. We hope this will be sustained and ensure the well-being of children in Gaza and Israel.

Rayan*, 13, in the rubble of his former school in the Gaza Strip. (* indicates that the name has been changed to protect identity. This must be reflected in all usage). Photo by Anas Baba/Save the Children.

Over the last seven weeks, an average of 12 children were killed and 77 were injured every day -- 25 of whom were left with permanent disabilities. On a daily basis, an average of six schools were shelled, 435 families lost their homes, and 37 children were orphaned. All of Gaza's children, who make up half of the 1.8 million population, need some form of psychosocial support, according to the UN.

"We have seen 50 days of conflict that has put the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe," said Save the Children's David Hassell. "It is only now that Gaza's people can really start to grieve, heal, breathe, and rebuild — and that will only be possible if the crippling blockade is lifted. Now is the chance for the international community to help both sides to agree to ground-breaking changes that will bring enduring peace, security and freedom for both Palestinians and Israelis. Now is the moment to ensure that this will be the last war for children who have already witnessed too many in their most tender years."

Save the Children also urges governments and individuals to be generous in contributing to the urgent reconstruction of Gaza. Schools are still full with people who have been left homeless; hospitals and medical facilities need rebuilding or rehabilitating; water networks have yet to be rebuilt; half of Gaza's children need specialized psychological help.

"Aid is needed now for Gaza to be able to cope with the extent of utter loss and destruction," Hassell said. "We owe it to Gaza's children to give them some sense of normality as an immediate priority."

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood – every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Media Contact:
Francine Uenuma, 202.450.9153 (M)

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