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War Child in Gaza: how we will meet the deadliest crisis with our biggest ever response

Kieran King, War Child’s Global Head of Humanitarian, writes about War Child’s plans to save lives, heal trauma and restore hope for the children of Gaza.

The situation in Gaza is the deadliest crisis for children this century.  

This is not just the observation of War Child staff and partners on the ground; it is borne out by the facts. Children have been killed in Gaza at a faster rate than any other conflict of the last 25 years. According to the UN, Israeli airstrikes killed more children in four months of the current violence than were killed in all conflicts around the world in the previous four years. Over a million children have been forced from their homes and are facing starvation. 620,000 have not been to school in six months, harming their development and longer-term opportunities. Over 17,000 are alone without any family to care for them. Untold numbers are suffering severe mental trauma. The scale of the tragedy is almost too much to comprehend. 

Saving lives, healing trauma, restoring hope – at every opportunity 

In desperate circumstances, with aid workers themselves being killed at record rates, War Child’s staff and partners have strived to provide food, water, hygiene products and other aid to 30,000 children and family members. We have also been able to provide mental health support to over 7,500 of those children, through counselling, psychosocial first aid, and interventions such as our pioneering Team Up programme (which uses play and movement to help tackle relieve stress and tackle trauma). But these are band aids in lieu of a ceasefire and despite the deliberate blockage of aid and movement of humanitarian aid workers. There are so many more children in need than the conditions currently allow. 

That’s why War Child is currently preparing to deliver the biggest emergency response in our history, reaching over 120,000 children across Gaza and West Bank with a transformational programme of aid, protection, education and mental health and psychosocial support. This will include the creation of lasting mental health services: a legacy that will help heal trauma and build resilience now and for generations to come. And it will also facilitate lasting protection and care for the tens of thousands of orphaned and unaccompanied children created by the conflict.   

How you can help 

While the work preparing for this programme is already underway, there are two key elements required for us to deliver this life-saving and life-changing work in full. 

First is an immediate, lasting ceasefire. It is simply not possible for War Child, or any organisation, to support children in Gaza on the scale needed without one. War Child, our supporters and fellow humanitarian charities have been campaigning for this, for international humanitarian law and child rights to be respected, and for the immediate release of all hostages and illegal detainees, since the current escalation of violence began in October. Your support can bring this closer

Secondly, of course, we need money. Our first fundraising target is £500,000, which will enable us to continue providing aid and mental health support at every opportunity prior to a ceasefire, whilst also dramatically upgrading our capacity in the region. This upgrade will in turn will give us access to larger scale funding from global institutional and governmental sources, enabling every pound donated by supporters at this stage to unlock up to ten pounds from these other sources over time. 

With this access to global institutional funding and the ongoing generosity of our supporters, we aim to reach our second target of £10m by the time a ceasefire is agreed, which will enable us to provide the full education, protection, aid and mental health ambitions outlined above: a programme that could prove transformational for over 120,000 children now, and for generations to come. 

Whether it is raising money or campaigning for a ceasefire, we cannot make this transformational difference without you.


Please donate, campaign, and lend your support however you can. Thank you.
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