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HomenewsIs Israel’s Gaza war the deadliest conflict for children in modern times?

Is Israel’s Gaza war the deadliest conflict for children in modern times?

In late October, the international nonprofit Save the Children reported that the number of children killed in the Gaza Strip over three weeks of Israel’s bombardment had surpassed the annual number of children killed in global conflict zones every year since 2019.

Since then, the number of tiny bodies wrapped in white shrouds and surrounded by grieving family members has only grown as Israel has also launched a ground offensive, adding artillery fire to the destruction unleashed by its missiles.

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Yet as the war rages on a month after it started, even the numbers don’t fully reveal the scale at which Gaza’s children have been killed.

Here is how the deaths compare with some other major conflicts in recent years. All have been horrific and devastating for children. Still, Gaza stands out. Starkly.

Gaza:

Israel’s attacks have killed 4,104 children in Gaza during the current war, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports.These deaths have been reported over one month of violence. That’s comfortably more than 100 children killed every day on average.Gaza has a population of 2.3 million people living in an area of 365sq km (140sq miles), which amounts to a population density of 6,300 people per square kilometre (16,320 people per square mile).Children make up 47 percent of Gaza’s population, according to UNICEF.

Ukraine

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.A year and eight months into the invasion, Russia and Ukraine have engaged in daily, bloody clashes, and the fighting has claimed many civilian lives.Among the casualties are 510 children who have been killed, according to the Children of War website, a platform created by Ukrainian government ministries on behalf of the Office of the President.These deaths represent a little less than one child per day on average.However, the numbers of children killed are likely far higher as the death troll in territories occupied by Russia is unknown.Ukraine has a population density of 76 people per square kilometre (nearly 200 people per square mile), according to the World Bank.Children make up 18.5 percent of Ukraine’s population, according to UNICEF.

Iraq

In 2003, the United States government under President George W Bush invaded Iraq.In 2008, UNICEF began monitoring violations against children in the region.The following information was recorded over 14 years from 2008 to the end of 2022.During this time, 3,119 children were killed, UNICEF reported. That’s more than one child killed every two days.Iraq has a population density of 100 people per square kilometre (260 people per square mile), according to the World Bank.Children make up 43.6 percent of Iraq’s population, according to UNICEF.

Syria

In March 2011, protests calling for the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad and his government soon turned into a war after a violent crackdown by security forces.From the 2011 start of the war to March this year, 12,000 children have been killed, the UN reported. That’s almost three children every day on average.Syria has a population density of 116 people per square kilometre (300 people per square mile), according to the World Bank.Children make up 37.3 percent of Syria’s population, according to UNICEF.

Yemen

Yemen has suffered from a devastating conflict since 2015 with a Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels.Over seven years and six months, 3,774 children have been killed, UNICEF reported. That’s four children killed every three days.These are only the numbers that the UN has been able to verify, and the actual numbers are likely higher.Yemen has a population density of 62 people per square kilometre (160 people per square mile), according to the World Bank.Children make up 47 percent of Yemen’s population, according to UNICEF.

Afghanistan

US-led forces entered Afghanistan in 2001 after the September 11 attacks that year. The US withdrew its forces from the country in 2021.From 2009 to 2020, 8,099 children were killed, according to a UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report. That’s two children every day.Afghanistan has a population density of 61 people per square kilometre (158 people per square mile, according to the World Bank.Children make up 50 percent of Afghanistan’s population, according to UNICEF.Source: Al Jazeera


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