UN: 138 UNRWA students killed during the war on Gaza

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Palestinian children carrying bottles of water walk past buildings which were destroyed by Israeli military strikes during the summer's fierce offensive, on October 1, 2014, in the Shujayeh neighborhood of Gaza City. (Photo: AFP - Mahmud Hams)

Published Friday, October 3, 2014

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees confirmed on Friday that 138 UNRWA students were killed during the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness said that an additional 814 UNRWA students were injured and 560 have become orphans due to the Israeli onslaught.

"Family life for so many has been devastated," Gunness said.

The agency will be training teachers in Gaza to provide psychosocial support to the 241,000 children back in schools in the area.

Gunness said that the agency “remains committed to dealing with the psychological scars” of the seven-week Israeli military operation that took place over the summer.

In a statement yesterday, Makarim Wibisono, the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) special rapporteur in the Palestinian territories, said that every child in Gaza has been adversely affected by the recent conflict.

“[Wibisono] said that every child in Gaza has been adversely affected by the recent conflict, and suffers from bedwetting, difficulties in sleeping, nightmares, a loss of appetite, or displays more aggressive behaviour at school,” a UNHRC said in a statement posted on its website on Monday.

As part of the UN agency’s mental health program, teachers are trained in stress management skills, life skills education for elementary students and structured recreational activities for preparatory students.

The majority of Gaza’s 110,000 homeless people are children.

According to estimates based on preliminary information, as many as 80,000 Palestinians homes were damaged or destroyed during the days of hostilities, a higher figure than was previously thought. UNRWA estimates that at least 20,000 of these are uninhabitable.

On July 7, Israel launched a seven-week military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

According to UN figures, at least 505 Palestinian children were killed during the 50-day war. The cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,180, at least 70 percent of whom were civilians. On the Israeli side, 66 soldiers and six civilians died during the conflict.

The offensive ended on August 26 with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire deal that was celebrated by resistance faction Hamas as a strategic victory over Israel.

(Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

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