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SOS Children’s Villages Palestine
13 March 2024

Statement

A group of children without parental care was evacuated from the SOS Children’s Village Rafah, Gaza. While the organization continues its work in the Gaza Strip to provide humanitarian services, care and shelter.

A total of 68 children from the SOS Children’s Village Rafah in Gaza as well as 11 employees of the SOS Children’s Villages and their families have been evacuated. We have worked through related ministries and diplomatic channels with all relevant authorities to bring the children and adults to Bethlehem in the West Bank, where they arrived safely on 11 March. The children aged between two and 14 years, are in the care of SOS Children’s Villages, as they had already lost parental care before the war. They are doing well under the circumstances and continue to receive care and psychological support from their trusted carers.

The children were accompanied by caregivers on their way to Bethlehem after the transfer was approved by the Palestinian Ministry of Social Development, as it is the legal guardian of the children.

Although the children are now relatively safe, we remain deeply concerned about all the children and other people who remain at extreme risk in the Gaza Strip.

SOS Children’s Villages continues to provide humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip. Also, SOS Children’s Village in Rafah remains open to provide care and shelter services. It is an important humanitarian location that must be protected, and basic life measures must be provided to children and families in need. The SOS Children’s Village in Rafah is currently hosting in its care a group of children who have lost parental care. The village in Rafah currently includes, to the extent it can accommodate, a number of displaced people, children, graduates, and extended families.

The core of SOS Children’s Villages’ work has always been the safety of children who have lost parental care or are at risk of losing it. It has been working in Palestine since 1968, based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence.

We call on all actors with the utmost urgency to treat and protect children affected by the conflict in accordance with international law. Every child has a right to a safe life. We will keep working in Gaza and with partners, donors, supporters and the community to continue to support children and families as best we can in this life-threatening situation.