Gaza conflict: Children struggling with war trauma

Young casualties face uncertain future

A Year After Gaza Conflict, Children Still Struggling With War Traumas
One year after the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, reconstruction has barely begun and children remain traumatised by the conflict.

Gaza's youngest residents still appear to be bearing the heaviest and most lasting consequences of last summer's war, The Guardian reports.

A report published on Monday by Save the Children, entitled A Living Nightmare: Gaza One Year On, says 551 children were killed and 3,436 were injured, of whom 10% suffered permanent disability. One Israeli child was killed during the war, and 270 injured.

Three-quarters of Gaza's children experience unusual bedwetting regularly, the report says, while 89 per cent of parents report that their children suffer constant feelings of fear, and more than 70 per cent of children say they are worried about another war.

Seven out of 10 children interviewed as part of the report now suffer regular nightmares.

Bleak future

What is also clear is that the loss of older teenagers has affected younger siblings and parents, compounding a deepening sense of fatalism and hopelessness in a Gaza where the promised reconstruction has barely happened and whose outlook, Palestinians say, seems bleaker than at any time in recent memory.

Hasan Zeyada, a community psychologist in Gaza, believes that children and young people have been the most affected group, both because of the last war and in the wider context of blockade and conflict that means children over the age of nine will have lived through three wars and continuous economic siege.