Save the Children said that fifteen years of the blockade in the Gaza Strip has left four out of five children to live under depression, grief and fear.
In its latest findings titled (Trapped), Save the Children reported that the research found the mental well-being of children, young people, and caregivers in the Gaza strip has dramatically deteriorated since a similar study in 2018.
The report said that the number of Gazan children reporting emotional distress increased to 80% from 55%.
According to the report, children who reported feeling fearful comprised 84% compared to 50% in 2018, nervous 80% compared to 55%, sad or depressed 77% compared to 62%, and grieving 78% compared to 55%.
The report also found that more than half of Gaza’s children have contemplated suicide and three out of five are self-harming.
Save the Children called on the government of Israel to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and that local authorities, the international community, and donors support the rapid strengthening of child protection and mental health support services for affected children.
The report said that children make up 47% of Gaza’s population of two million, and 800,000 have never known life without the blockade.
Jason Lee, Country Director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territories, said that the children who spoke to for this report described living in a perpetual state of fear, worry, sadness and grief, waiting for the next round of violence to erupt, and feeling unable to sleep or concentrate.
“The physical evidence of their distress, bedwetting, loss of ability to speak or to complete basic tasks, is shocking and should serve as a wakeup call to the international community,” Lee said.
Lee called on all sides to tackle the root causes of conflict between Palestinian and Israel, and take steps to protect all children and families who deserve to live in safety and dignity.
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