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100 days of war: Charity concerns for Palestinian children as refugee shelter in Gaza closes for safety

by Will Hobbs

A network of shelter homes in Gaza housing thousands of Palestinian refugees has reportedly had to close, due to expanding Israeli military action.

The compound in Khan Younis had helped 9,000 people by providing places to sleep in their three shelters, hot meals, and carrying out activities to distract children from the disruption and trauma going on around them.

But CAFOD, which partners with the group that runs it, says it’s now too dangerous and people there will have to move:

"Having already left their homes, families are being uprooted once again and moved to new, hastily built shelters."

The news comes 100 days since the horrific atrocities of the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel, which triggered a powerful military response, which has seen 25,000 lives lost, the majority women and children.

Over 1.9 million people have been displaced in Gaza, with many families having to move multiple times.

CAFOD says civilian areas including schools, homes, hospitals and churches have been attacked, and there are increasingly fewer places to seek refuge.

Janet Symes, Head of Middle East Programmes at CAFOD told Premier that a permanent ceasefire is the only chance the region has of a solution the humanitarian crisis.

She says some aid is getting in but not nearly enough.

"On Saturday, there were 108 truckloads of food, water, and other essential humanitarian items that entered into Gaza… it's a fraction of what is really needed. But that is still aid getting in.

"We heard some good news from the Holy Family Church in Gaza, which was hit in an attack shortly before Christmas, they have recently got two weeks supply of food and essentials, for the people sheltering there.

But Symes said aid supplies are erratic, and require a phenomenal amount of hard work, distributing in very dangerous circumstances.

Last week, South Africa put forward a case to the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of being ‘genocidal’, a claim which UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has dismissed.

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