Up to 20,000 Babies Born into Gaza ‘Hell’ – UNICEF Official

Newborn babies were taken out of the incubators at Al-Shifa Hospital due to a lack of oxygen. (Photo: via Social Media)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Nearly 20,000 Palestinian babies have been born into war in the Gaza Strip, while 135,000 children under age two in the besieged enclave are at severe risk of malnutrition, UNICEF has said. 

 “That’s a baby born into this horrendous war every 10 minutes,” Tess Ingram, a UNICEF spokesperson told a press briefing in Geneva on Friday. 

“The situation of pregnant women and newborns in the Gaza Strip is beyond belief, and it demands intensified and immediate actions,” Ingram stressed. 

Sharing her experience at the Emirati Hospital in Rafah, Ingram said that the already precarious situation of infant and maternal mortality has worsened as the healthcare system collapses.

“Mothers face unimaginable challenges in accessing adequate medical care, nutrition, and protection before, during and after giving birth.”

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Overcrowded conditions and limited resources “put mothers at risk from miscarriages, stillbirths, preterm labor, maternal mortality and emotional trauma.”

Pregnant and breastfeeding women and infants are living “in inhumane conditions: makeshift shelters, poor nutrition, and unsafe water.”

“This is putting approximately 135,000 children under two at risk of severe malnutrition,” Ingram warned. 

She also mentioned the trauma of war having a direct impact on newborns, “resulting in higher rates of undernutrition, developmental issues and other health complications.”

‘Mothers Bleed to Death’

“Seeing newborn babies suffer, while some mothers bleed to death, should keep us all awake at night,” the UN official stressed, adding that “becoming a mother should be a time of celebration. In Gaza, it’s another child delivered into hell.”

Ingram said one of the nurses had “performed emergency cesareans on six dead women” in the last eight weeks.

The nurse, she added, told her that, “There are also more miscarriages because of the unhealthy air and smoke due to the bombing. This has happened more times than I can count.”

Ingram pointed out that “this is the southern half of Gaza.” 

“Despite relentless efforts, UNICEF has been unable to access the north, where the situation is, incredulously, worse,” she lamented.

“Humanity cannot allow this warped version of normal to persist any longer. Mothers and newborns need a humanitarian ceasefire.” 

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In December, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said Gaza is the “most dangerous place in the world to be a child”.

“And day after day, that brutal reality is reinforced,” Elder said. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 24,762 Palestinians have been killed, and 62,108 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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