Statement: Killing in Gaza must stop – child death toll reaches 10,000 

12 January 2024

As the number of children killed in Gaza tragically reaches 10,000, Plan International calls on governments worldwide to stand in solidarity with Palestinian children.

Children in Gaza, like all children everywhere, have the right to a life free from war and violence. All parties to any conflict must respect International Humanitarian Law – no one has the right to disregard these obligations. 

Figures released by the Palestinian Ministry of Health this week confirm that more than 10,000 children have now been killed by the Israeli military airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza since the attack on Israel on October 7.* This amounts to one in every 100 children in Gaza. These statistics are horrifying – no conflict should ever reach this point.

100 days of war

On Sunday, 14 January, the war in Gaza will have been ongoing for 100 days. A UN-backed report warns that Gaza’s entire population of 2.3 million people are facing crisis levels of hunger, with 576,600 people at catastrophic levels – meaning a high risk of mass starvation and death. This suffering is avoidable. The bombardment of hospitals and attacks on health workers have brought Gaza’s health service to its knees – and with it, an even greater risk of children being maimed and disabled for the rest of their lives. Children are being operated on without anaesthesia. UNICEF has reported that more than 1,000 children have had one or both legs amputated4

Call for unconditional, immediate ceasefire

Plan International once again calls on all parties involved for an unconditional, immediate, sustained and complete ceasefire. This is the only way to bring this unconscionable suffering to an end. We also demand improved humanitarian access to civilians, especially children. Humanitarian organisations are ready to bring life-saving supplies into Gaza, but we cannot address the dire, and rapidly growing needs of extremely vulnerable children and civilians without the full, expedited, and unhindered entry of aid at all access points. We also continue to call for the immediate release of all hostages. 

Every day without a ceasefire will bring further death, suffering, destruction and devastation – leaving children with profound mental and physical scars that will last for years. For the sake of children in Gaza, and everywhere, the killing must stop – now.  

* Palestinian Ministry of Health report for 9 January, 2024