Israel /

Contrary to Recent Reports, UN Says Gaza Civilian Death Toll Was Not Halved

The 24,686 figure cited in some reports refers to casualties where full details of the victims' identities have been confirmed, not the total number of dead Gazans

Contrary to Recent Reports, UN Says Gaza Civilian Death Toll Was Not Halved

A United Nations (UN) official has gone on the record to correct false claims that the international body had revised, and lowered by half, the estimated number of Gazans killed in Israel’s ongoing military campaign.

In recent days, reports from the Jerusalem Post and FOX News claimed that a UN report showed that about 50 percent fewer women and children have been killed in the conflict than have been previously reported.

During a May 13 press conference, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, addressed questions over potential discrepancies in the data, explaining that the lower figure cited in the report simply accounts for deceased victims who have been fully identified, not the total number of casualties.

“It’s not quite the case, no,” Haq said in response to a question as to whether it’s true that the death toll had been cut in half.

“The overall number of fatalities that’s been tallied by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, which is our counterpart on dealing with the death tolls, that number remains unchanged. And it’s at more than 35,000 people since October 7," he explained.

Haq continued:

What’s changed is the Ministry of Health in Gaza has updated the breakdown of fatalities, for whom full details have been documented.

So, what they recently published was that they gave figures for 24,686 out of 34,622 overall fatalities recorded in Gaza. And those 24,686 people are the ones for whom full details have been documented. In other words, people who have been fully identified.

Out of that smaller number, that subset of identified bodies, you have 7,797 children, 4,959 women, 1,924 elderly, and 10,006 men. And the Ministry of Health says that the documentation process of fully identifying details of the casualties is ongoing.

Meanwhile, as you can see, if you do the math that there’s about another 10,000 plus bodies who ... still have to be fully identified.

And so, then the details of those which of those are children, which of those are women that will be re-established once the full identification process is complete. We, our teams in Gaza, are unable to identify, independently verified these figures, given the situation on the ground and the continuing combat and the sheer number of fatalities. And so, we cite the Ministry of Health as the source for our figures.

When asked if he has any reason to believe that the numbers are incorrect based on the years-long partnership the UN has maintained with the Health Ministry, Haq said, “In past times, their figures have proven to be generally accurate.”

Other reporting, citing sources from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), found that Israeli officials have concluded that the casualty numbers provided by the Gaza Health Ministry are indeed correct, with IDF personnel calling the data “totally reliable.”

*For corrections please email [email protected]*