Children living in the poorest parts of the West Bank face worse conditions than children in Gaza, claims a study by an international children’s charity Families forced from their homes in the West Bank are suffering grinding poverty and are going without food, medicine and aid, says the report out today.
In Area C, the 60 per cent of the territory under Israeli control, families are being forced to live in tents and do not have access to clean water because of Israel’s refusal to approve repair work, says the Save the Children UK re[port.
Homes, schools, sewage systems and roads which urgently need repair, are making thousands of Palestinian children ill, the European Commission funded study found. Conditions in Area C have reached ‘crisis point’, the charity said, with 79 per cent of the communities going without enough food – more than in blockaded Gaza, where the figure is 61 per cent. And 84 per cent of families there are relying on aid. “In the past week, the international community has rightly focussed its attention on the suffering of families in Gaza,” said the charity’s Salam Kanaan. “But the plight of children in Area C must not be overlooked.” “Palestinians in the west Bank are widely thought to enjoy a higher standard of living, but tragically, any families actually suffer greater levels of malnutrition and poverty.”
The lack of proper nutrition is having a major impact on the health of children growing up in the area, with 44 per cent of those surveyed suffering diarrhoea, the world's biggest killer of children under the age of five. Many children in these communities are showing signs of stunted growth, with the figure running at more than double Gaza's rate, and more than one in 10 children surveyed were underweight.
The Life On The Edge report says that for many Palestinians, international aid is far harder to access in the West Bank than in Gaza, with almost half the households surveyed in Area C reporting that they had no access to foreign aid. The organisation called for Israel to immediately stop demolishing homes and confiscating land in the West Bank and said the Palestinian authority should take "urgent action" to develop services and improve food security in Area C."Palestinian children cannot wait for the stalled peace talks between the Palestinian Authority, Israel, and the United States to find solutions to this crisis," Mr Kanaan said.