Estonia is supporting the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), with 70,000 euros to help alleviate the humanitarian situation for children in the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced this morning.
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said the situation in Gaza has become a very tragic: "Very many have been killed and injured, including children killed and injured. Violence in Gaza has caused immense suffering and we must stop at nothing to end it," he said.
UNICEF's latest data says that nearly 400 children have been killed, and more than 2,700 injured. More than 243,000 children have had to leave their homes because of the conflict. UNICEF says that the public health system is on the verge of collapse, and the complex security situation has hampered assistance, the group said. Gaza also has major problems with access to water, waste water, and drainage. This, in turn, increases the risk of epidemics.
Estonia earmarked 75,000 euros in July to ease the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, with the money going to the area through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Israeli troops and tanks pulled out of Gaza at 8 local time this morning as part of a 72-hour truce agreement. There have been no missile strikes on Israel by Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, so far during the day. Hundreds of missile strikes on Israeli towns and cities precipitated the four-week-old war, which has caused a majority of Israelis to have to take shelter daily during the conflict.
Paet stated that the combatants must do everything in their power to prevent further violence.
"We hope that both parties adhere to the truce agreement, and it creates an opportunity to resolve the conflict through negotiations. It is important to continue efforts to find a lasting solution to ensure the security of all Israelis and Palestinians, "he said.
The UK Guardian reports that talks are scheduled to be held in Cairo, Egypt, this week between the two sides.