GAZA - 30 May 2024

Children and staff have been displaced from the SOS Children's Village in Rafah

On 28 May, SOS Children's Villages started an emergency relocation of children and adults from the village in Rafah due to a dramatically heightened security risk. All 33 children residing at the location in Rafah arrived unharmed at an alternative location in central Gaza.

With the emergency relocation, the SOS Children's Village Rafah ceases to be a humanitarian hub for the local community and IDPs in the city of Rafah.   

"It is SOS Children's Villages' clear intention to re-establish the vital humanitarian support for the local population in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible," says Ghada Hirzallah, the National Director of SOS Children's Villages in Palestine. 

The now displaced group includes children, supporting staff, former programme participants and their families. They have reached their provisional new locations, which are situated within the area designated as a "safe zone". We note with extreme concern that previously designated humanitarian "safe zones" have been targets of deadly strikes. We therefore call on all parties to the war to protect civilians as is their duty according to international humanitarian law. 

Most of the children and caregivers who lived at the SOS Children's Village Rafah were evacuated to the West Bank in March. It was possible due to cooperation of all sides of the conflict. These children are now relatively safe and have resumed their regular education. 

We stay highly concerned about the safety and well-being of the displaced children and staff. Children are always the ones to suffer most in any war. Many of the children who were at the SOS Children's Village in Gaza have been displaced several times to escape the fighting.

We reiterate our call for an immediate end to the hostilities to ensure the safety of children, young people, and families in the city of Rafah and the rest of Gaza. 

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 continue our work in Gaza and continue to support children and families in this life-threatening situation as best we can.  

The new locations where children and caregivers were forced to relocate are humanitarian sites protected under international law. As such, parties to the conflict must not target those locations and under no circumstances use them for military purposes.


About SOS Children’s Villages 

SOS Children's Villages, founded in 1949, is the world's largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it. 

Child neglect, abuse and abandonment is everywhere. Families are at risk of separation. Locally led, we work in more than 130 countries and territories to strengthen families who are under pressure so they can stay together. When this is not in a child or young person's best interests, we provide quality care according to their unique needs.  

Together with partners, donors, communities, children, young people, and families, we enable children to grow up with the bonds they need to develop and become their strongest selves. We speak up for each child's rights and advocate for change so all children can grow up in a supportive environment. 

About SOS Children’s Villages in Palestine 

SOS Children’s Villages in Palestine, established in 1968, provides alternative care to more than 190 children and young people without parental care in two villages: in Rafah (now emergency relocated) and Bethlehem. The organization also runs family strengthening and other preventive programmes that support more than 400 families in the West Bank and Gaza. Since the start of the war in Gaza, SOS Children’s Villages in Palestine has provided direct humanitarian support to the most affected families and separated children.    

To learn more, visit 

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