UN reports big increase in number of civilian casualties in Gaza

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 14 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b137
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    The situation is horrific and getting worse by the hour for civilians trapped in Israel’s military onslaught in the Gaza strip, senior UN officials have said. With the number of casualties, especially women and children, rising sharply, they have called on the international community to take effective action to stop the attacks.

    John Ging, director of operations in Gaza for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, said on 13 January, “The horrific consequences of this conflict . . . still continue. People are still being killed [and] injured. The destruction is going on, and it continues to go on day by day.”

    Mr Ging said that the numbers of casualties are difficult to establish or verify, but he said that the Palestinian Ministry of Health and human rights organisations on the ground have reported that more than 900 people have been killed, among them 292 children and 85 women.

    In neighbouring southern Israel four civilians have been killed and 250 have been wounded as a result of rockets fired by Hamas militants.

    Mr Ging said that more than 4250 people in Gaza have been injured, including 1497 children and 626 women.

    “From a human perspective,” he said, “every time I visit the hospital I come away hugely distressed because the injuries are …

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