UNICEF welcomes NZ Government funding towards life-saving aid for women and children in Gaza

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UNICEF Aotearoa is welcoming the New Zealand Government’s announcement of an additional $5 million towards meeting the immense humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced on Friday $2.5 million in funding for both the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme. 

The UNICEF funding will support greater access to safe drinking water, vital medical supplies, as well as the supply of nutritional supplements and vitamins to children and pregnant women who are facing malnutrition. 

“With an estimated 20,000 babies born in Gaza since October 7, 2023, and 135,000 children under the age of two at risk of severe malnutrition, this funding is vital to ensure children have the basics they need to survive,” Michelle Sharp, CEO of UNICEF Aotearoa says.  

“UNICEF has described the Gaza Strip as the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. Beyond the risks from the conflict itself, the risk of starvation and waterborne diseases for children is very real,” Sharp continued.  

UNICEF has been warning since November that children in southern Gaza are accessing only 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day, well below the recommended requirements for survival. Due to overcrowding, winter conditions and poor sanitation, there have been significant increases in some communicable diseases and conditions such as diarrhoea, acute respiratory infections and skin infections. 

UNICEF and partners have provided safe drinking water to over 1.3 million people and medical supplies, including 600,000 doses of vaccine, nutritional supplements and vitamins to children and pregnant women.  Humanitarian cash transfers have been released to over 500,000 households as well as tents, tarpaulins, blankets and winter clothes to families who have been displaced. 

UNICEF Aotearoa reiterates the New Zealand Government’s call for Israel to facilitate faster entry of aid into Gaza by streamlining its inspection processes, opening more border crossings for aid delivery and helping ensure safe passage for those delivering this vital assistance.  

See the Government’s full announcement here: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-provides-further-humanitarian-support-gaza-and-west-bank 

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