In a children’s ward in Gaza’s biggest hospital the evidence of the conflict in the enclave is clear to see. Some of the youngest victims of the fighting are being treated for physical injuries.
The scars on the young run deep and psychologists are concerned the damage to the childrens’ health could be long term
“Children are suffering from sleep disturbances. It’s not easy for them to fall asleep alone a lot of them start to suffer from nightmares. They are clinging to their parents,” explained psychologist Hassan Zyada.
Therapists who work with the children in the hospital say some are unable to talk about their experiences.
The United Nations estimates 400,000 Gazan children are in need of psychological care. That is not just from the latest fighting in the territory it points out but from the three previous conflicts with Israel since 2006.
Many have lost multiple family members and their homes thousands have found shelter in UN schools.
“I see our destroyed house and I start screaming when I’m dreaming, then my mother wakes me up and says don’t scream, don’t worry,” said one young girl.
Four conflicts in the space of eight years for the young to cope with. Experts believe the trauma of what has happened in the territory has had a profound effect.