Press release

9 Feb 2024

ESCWA: The war on Gaza, 21st century's deadliest 100 days

Policy brief cover in English

Beirut, 09 February 2024--The ongoing war on the Gaza Strip is unfolding as the most severe episode of the 56-year Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. In just 100 days, more than one Gazan person in every 100 has been killed, a rate which exceeds any other armed conflict in the twenty-first century, with the majority of these fatalities being women and children.

Highlighted in a policy brief issued today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) entitled "War on Gaza: 21st century's deadliest 100 days?", those staggering facts underscore the urgency for an immediate cessation of all hostilities and a renewed commitment to a sustainable peace resolution based on relevant United Nations resolutions and international law.

“One in every 85 Gazan children has been killed since 7 October 2023, marking the highest rate compared to recent major conflicts. This must stop now,” urged ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti. “Surviving children will bear the impact of the current war for decades to come, exacerbated by displacement, food insecurity, malnutrition, and limited access to education and health services and to other basic services,” she underscored.

The war has led to 1.9 million internally displaced people, the destruction of over 60% of Gaza’s housing units, and severe damage to essential infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and health care centres. Gaza is now grappling with an unparalleled humanitarian crisis with destructive impacts echoing across the social, economic, and institutional fabric of the whole country.

The consequences of the war will not only pose an immediate threat but also heighten the risk of future violence. Even in the case of a prolonged ceasefire, a return to the pre-7 October 2023 status quo will create a high risk of future violence.

“The unprecedented impact of the current war on Gaza demands a transformative shift in addressing mounting immediate needs, reevaluating long-term systemic challenges to relief efforts, and confronting the root causes of the conflict,” Dashti concluded.



One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.

For more information and to arrange interviews:

- Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961-81-769-888; email:

- Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879;


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