4/5 Gaza children suffer 'distress' after 15-year blockade: NGO
After 15 years of the strict blockade imposed by the Israeli occupation on Gaza, four out of five Gaza children are found to be suffering from emotional distress.
After more than 15 years since the blockade "Israel" imposed on Gaza in June 2007, crippling its vital sectors, Britain-based NGO Save the Children released a report on the toll the suffocating blockade has had on Gaza children.
In the report called "Trapped", the NGO said that since 2018, the number of those reporting symptoms of "depression, grief, and fear" has risen from 55 to 80%.
Jason Lee, Save the Children's director for occupied Palestine, said the children they spoke to in the making of this report described living "in a perpetual state of fear, worry, sadness and grief."
These children were constantly waiting "for the next round of violence to erupt, and feeling unable to sleep or concentrate." Their distress has also manifested in physical symptoms, like bedwetting, the loss of the ability to speak, or even complete basic tasks, which he described as "shocking" and something that should serve as "a wakeup call to the international community."
Save the Children also said that children constitute around half of the 2.1 million people living in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, around 800,000 youths have "never known life without the blockade."
In a statement marking the anniversary of the blockade, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that "Israel", with Egypt's help, "has turned Gaza into an open-air prison." HRW's director for Palestine and the occupied territories, Omar Shakir, told AFP that young people face the "brunt of the blockade because they don't know of a Gaza before the closure."