UN humanitarian officials have warned that newborn children are living in hell in the Gaza Strip and many others are dying as a result of deteriorating sanitary conditions.
Reiterating urgent international calls for a ceasefire, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 20,000 babies have been born in the Gaza Strip since widespread Israeli bombing began in response to Hamas-led attacks.
Chronic problems with access to help meant that caesarean sections were performed there without anesthesia.
“Becoming a mother should be a time of celebration. In the Gaza Strip, another child goes to hell,” emphasized UN News, the website UN.
The difficult situation of women and children in the Gaza Strip
“Mothers face unimaginable challenges in accessing appropriate health care, nutrition and protection before, during and after childbirth,” said Tess Ingram, UNICEF communications specialist.
She added that, according to estimates, approximately 135,000 children under 2 years of age are currently at risk of severe malnutrition. They live in “inhumane” conditions in makeshift shelters, are poorly fed, and the water they have access to is dangerous.
After returning from southern Gaza, Ingram explained that staff at the overcrowded Emirati hospital in Rafah were forced to discharge mothers “within three hours of a cesarean section.” She called it a situation “unbelievable and requiring immediate action.”
The specialist pointed out that just over 100 days after the start of the war, continuous bombing and displacement “directly affect newborns. They cause higher levels of malnutrition, developmental problems and other health complications.”
– The sight of newborn babies suffering and some mothers bleeding to death should keep us up at night. The knowledge that two very young Israeli children abducted on October 7 have still not been released should also keep us awake at night, Ingram said.
UNICEF provides milk formula and supplements for mothers
World Health ORganisation (WHO) The UN noted that in addition to the sharp increase in upper respiratory tract infections, cases of diarrhea among children under 5 years of age reported in the last three months of 2023 were 26 times higher than those reported for the same period in 2022.
To help Gaza’s most vulnerable women and children, UNICEF provided supplies of milk formula and supplements to mothers who are too weak to breastfeed, as well as medical supplies to overwhelmed medical teams. However, the needs are much greater.
Main photo source: Shutterstock: Anas-Mohammed