United Nations cuts estimates of women, children deaths in Gaza war in half

UN estimates of the number women and children who died during Israel’s Gaza war have been reduced by almost half. This has led to a new level of scrutiny on the figures provided by the militant group Hamas.

According to UN data published on May 6, more than 9,500 of the 34,735 deaths in Gaza since the beginning of the war were women, and more than 14500 were children.

In updated data published on May 8th, the UN reduced the number of people killed to 34,844 – a total of 4,959 women and 797 children.

To produce the UN’s casualty numbers, it uses data from Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health. UN reports include a disclaimer stating that “the UN has not yet been able” to provide independent, comprehensive and verified casualty numbers.


Eri Kaneko, UN spokesperson and spokeswoman to USA TODAY said that the Gaza Ministry of Health has not changed its overall death count. She cited an April 30 update from the ministry on the breakdown of 24,686 deaths for which the ministry had complete details.

Kaneko stated that the Ministry of Health has noted the ongoing documentation process for full identification details of casualties. The Ministry of Health has noted that the process of documenting full identification details of casualties is still ongoing.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health has estimated that more than 10,000 people are “missing” or “under rubble”.

Gaza’s Health Ministry announced last month via its Telegram channel that it did not have complete data on 11,371 deaths it claimed to document. The ministry stated that a record is incomplete if it does not include the individual’s full name, identity number, date of birth or death.

Kaneko stated that UN teams in Gaza were unable to independently confirm the figures due to “the current situation on the ground” and the “sustainably high number of deaths.”

She said: “All UN figures clearly attribute their source to the Ministry of Health of Gaza.” “The UN will confirm these figures as far as possible, when conditions allow.”

Jerusalem Post was the first to report on these revised estimates.

In recent months, after initially expressing skepticism about the accuracy of Hamas’s figures, President Joe Biden began citing death figures from the Gaza Ministry of Health. This was evident in his State of the Union Address to Congress, delivered during March.

Israeli officials have long denied Hamas’ death toll, including that of women and children. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has stated that more than 13,000 Hamas terrorists have been killed among Palestinians in Gaza since October 7.

In a recent blog post, Elliott Abrams wrote that “Hamas would like the world to think the most casualties are women and children. This argument was almost universally accepted up until recently.” Abrams is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for Middle Eastern Studies.

Abrams, the former deputy national advisor for President Bush, said, “Now, even the UN or a part of the UN silently admits that they blindly accepted Hamas’s numbers intended to mislead.”

According to UN figures, 40 percent of Gaza’s casualties were men, 32 percent children, 20 % women, and 8 % elderly.