Over 20,000 Gazan children are estimated missing. This is what aid groups say has happened

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun29,2024
Death, disability, destruction, and displacement — that’s the reality for many children in Gaza right now.
Before 7 October, around half of were under 18 years old.
Over 14,000 of those children have since been killed, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

New analysis from aid agency Save the Children suggests up to 21,000 others are missing.

“Families are tortured by the uncertainty of the whereabouts of their loved ones,” Save the Children’s regional director for the Middle East, Jeremy Stoner, said.
“There must be an independent investigation and those responsible must be held accountable.

“We desperately need a ceasefire to find and support the missing children who have survived, and to prevent more families from being destroyed.”

Where are Gaza’s missing children?

At least 17,000 of the missing children are believed to be unaccompanied and separated from their families, according to Save the Children.
A Save the Children child protection specialist in Gaza said the number of separated and unaccompanied children was increasing every day, and it was getting harder to support them.
“We work through partners to identify separated and unaccompanied children and trace their families, but there are no safe facilities for them — there is no safe place in Gaza,” they said.
“Besides, reuniting them with family members is difficult when ongoing hostilities restrict our access to communities, and constantly force families to move.

“Neighbours and extended family members who have taken in lone children are struggling to meet their basic needs, such as shelter, food, and water. Many are with strangers — or completely alone — increasing the risk of violence, abuse exploitation and neglect.”

Around 4,000 children are estimated to be buried under the rubble created by Israeli airstrikes.
While children have been confirmed to be among the Palestinians found in mass graves across Gaza, it’s not yet known how many.
It’s also unclear how many children have been detained and forcibly transferred out of Gaza.

More than 7,000 of the children killed in Gaza are yet to be fully identified, according to the health ministry, partly due to being maimed beyond recognition or their next of kin being unable to be found.

“Children who are missing but living are vulnerable, face grave protection risks and must be found. They must be protected and reunited with their families,” Stoner said.
“For the children who have been killed, their deaths must be formally marked, their families informed, burial rites respected, and accountability sought.”
Save the Children noted it was almost impossible to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza.
It used data from the United Nations and Gaza’s health ministry for its missing children estimations, but the true number could be much higher.
Israel has bombarded Gaza since Hamas’ 7 October attack in which more than 1,200 people were killed and over 200 hostages taken, according to the Israeli government.

Gaza’s health ministry estimates at least 37,765 Palestinians have been killed since 7 October.

What’s happened to Israeli children?

An estimated 30 Israeli children were killed on 7 October, with around another 30 .
It’s unclear if any Israeli children are among those still being held hostage in Gaza.

The 7 October attack was a significant escalation in the long-standing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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