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Israel Hamas war: UN schools provide refuge and respite to Gaza children

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uuu Copyright Hatem Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Hatem Ali/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews
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Euronews reporter Nebal Hajjo speaks with staff at a UN-run school in Khan Younis to understand how the fighting between Israel and Hamas is taking its toll.

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The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency has condemned Israeli strikes on its schools in the Gaza Strip which serve as a place of refuge for thousands of displaced people in the besieged enclave.

The UNRWA school in the al-Maghazi camp, where some 4,000 Palestinians are sheltering, was bombarded by Israel's defence forces on 17 October and suffered severe structural damage.

"At least six people were killed and dozens injured," said Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner-General.

"This is outrageous, and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians. No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities" he added.

Further south at a UN-run school in Khan Younis, displaced Palestinians are facing a humanitarian crisis. Essential supplies such as clean water, food and medicine are running out. Despite the chaos of war, staff and volunteers at the centre are trying to give displaced children a semblance of normality through fun and games.

"We know that the most important language for children is the language of play, and they have been deprived of these games, deprived of schools and all their human rights. The sounds of bombing, day and night, cause states of fear and panic, especially among children" said child psychologist, Mahmoud Al-Baraghiti.

The UN estimates between 2,000 and 3,000 Palestinian children have been killed, while more than 30 Israeli children are believed to have died at the hands of Hamas militants in their 7 October raid.

Against the backdrop of explosions and despite the ever-present risks, children are managing to find moments of respite playing with their friends.

"Even trying to get here and reach the children is also dangerous. But our role as youth leaders is to provide smiles to the children and play with them, and this is ongoing work," said youth worker Ammar Shaat.

To watch Nebal Hajjo's full report click on the video in the player above

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