The heartbreaking tales of Gaza’s pregnant women | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

It’s the 12th day of the Israel-Hamas war and there is no indication of an end.

There seems to be no way out for Gaza’s sick, wounded and pregnant.

In the Gaza Strip, pregnant women face difficulties because the region’s hospitals are hardly functional and its medical facilities are “almost gone.”

According to CNN, Dominic Allen, who represents the State of Palestine for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), described the tales of pregnant women he has heard from Gaza as “harrowing.”

“Imagine going through that process in those final stages and your last trimester before giving birth, with possible complications, without clothing, without hygiene, support, and not sure about what the next day, next hour, next minute will bring for themselves and for their unborn child,” Allen added.

After Israel ordered an evacuation from the region’s north, several pregnant women in Gaza are living on very little food and without access to medical care.

Evidently, moving hasn’t been simple for everyone, especially, the elderly and pregnant women.

“Scared for my unborn child”

Eight-months pregnant Khulood Khaled made the decision to leave her home in the northern Gaza Strip’s al-Karama neighbourhood after hearing Israeli bombings while still in bed.

“We watched houses dropping as we drove, thinking we could die any minute,” she told CNN. On the way, she saw refugees being struck by Israeli jets “just meters away,” She hugged her son “so we’d die together.”

The 28-year-old eventually reached Khan Younis in the south, but she is currently surviving on “a dry piece of bread” because food is scarce there and there is no electricity or running water.

“I don’t know if the bread will be available tomorrow,” she said.

Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. AP

When it’s time for her to give birth, Khulood claimed she won’t know where to go.

“I’m scared. For my son, my unborn child and myself,” she told CNN, adding, “I don’t want to die. I want to see my son grow up… but there’s no life left here. Gaza has become a ghost city.”

“Fear of what the future holds”

Nardeen Fares drove with her husband from Gaza City’s al-Rimal neighbourhood to Khan Younis, which was about 16 miles distant and required a 40-minute drive, while nine months pregnant with their first child.

Fares claimed that she was afraid of what the future might bring because her due date was drawing near.

“As a woman who is in her last month of pregnancy, God knows when it will happen and what the situation will be like then,” Fares said. “Bombardment, no bombardment, you don’t know what will happen then.”

“Right now, there is an exodus… half of the Gaza Strip is moving to Khan Younis,” Fares told CNN on Friday over a phone call, adding that she is now sharing a six-bedroom accommodation with more than 80 other people.

The 27-year-old is worried that if she goes into labour, Khan Younis’ hospitals won’t be equipped to provide treatment to her.

She informed the news outlet that due to fuel scarcity, medical services were “almost gone” and hospitals in the city were hardly operating.

“Race against death”

Each step felt like a race against death for one 30-year-old pregnant woman who was forced to flee her home four times due to aerial explosions, she told UNFPA, according to The National News.

She was limited to carrying just a tiny bag of clothing each time she moved. The agency said that she was unable to take a nap in the crowded school shelter due to her concerns for her child’s safety.

Another mother who experienced labour and arrived at the Al Shifa maternity ward in time said, “I had no idea where or how I would deliver my baby.”

She had to be discharged three hours after giving birth so that other expectant mothers and injured persons might receive care.

Gaza “on the brink of famine”

Mona Ashour, another pregnant woman in Gaza, claimed that her family’s inability to afford a trip south had forced her to remain in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

As food and water supplies become more limited, the seven-month-pregnant woman has reduced her nutrition to the absolute minimum.

Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip arrive at a hospital in Khan Younis. AP

One of the women battling a lack of food and medicine is Iman, who is five months pregnant.

“She is exhausted,” her sister Alaa, who has three children, told The National News.

Their family was forced to leave Gaza City and seek refuge in a modest flat in Deir Al Balah, where 11 relatives and 10 neighbours share a tiny bathroom and kitchen with little supplies, according to her.

“We try to let Iman rest as much as possible,” Alaa said. “We gave her a mattress to sleep on, and my mum and I slept on the floor. When there is nutritious food, we give up our shares for her.”

The media office of the Palestinian Authority stated on Monday that the enclave of Gaza is “on the brink of a real famine as goods in stores are running out, and no aid is coming in,” adding that more than 500,000 Palestinians have been forced to from their homes.

Some aid has arrived in Egypt’s north Sinai but has not yet entered Gaza through the Egypt-controlled Rafah crossing, according to relief organisations and the UN.

No medical care

In Gaza’s packed hospitals, healthcare workers and midwives are struggling with running out of supplies.

According to a midwife at Al Shifa Hospital, many of the pregnant women are currently internally displaced and living in schools without access to basic necessities like clothing and hygiene products, privacy, or bathrooms.

“Access to primary healthcare services has become a distant dream. Some are even forced to give birth at home or while en route to the hospital,” she said.

According to the UNFPA, 10 per cent of the over 50,000 moms to-be in Gaza are anticipated to deliver their babies in the upcoming month.

“For the thousands of women about to give birth and those who are sick and critically injured being forced from their homes with nowhere safe to go and no food or water, is extremely dangerous,” said the UN agency that supports pregnant women and newborns by providing medicines and the services of midwives.

Israel has repeatedly ordered the evacuation of 22 hospitals that are caring for more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza over the course of the past week, despite the fact that these facilities are already overflowing with injured patients.

The World Health Organization reported that since the start of the conflict, at least 12 healthcare workers have died as a result of more than 111 strikes on medical facilities in the occupied Palestinian territory, 48 of which targeted the Gaza Strip.

Calls for emergency reproductive health services

After a “horrifying week” of Israeli air strikes, these pregnant women are facing a “double nightmare,” according to Dominic Allen, the UN Population Fund’s representative for Palestine.

UNFPA is requesting $6.9 million to help fund emergency services for women’s reproductive health and gender-based violence in Gaza and the West Bank. It also operates a helpline with counsellors and medical professionals on hand to assist young people and women who have experienced trauma.

It has demanded “immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access” so that everyone in need can obtain food, medication, water, and gasoline.

It declared itself to be “deeply concerned” about the safety and welfare of all people, in especially women and children.

Deadly blast at a Gaza City hospital

In the dark of early evening in Gaza, reports emerged of an explosion at Gaza City’s al-Ahli hospital. Al-Ahli was crowded both with victims of 10 days of Israeli airstrikes and with families and others who have taken refuge on hospital grounds.

Video from the hospital, confirmed by The Associated Press, showed an orange ball of fire and flames engulfing the building and grounds.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry blamed an Israeli airstrike and said it killed at least 500 people.

Israeli authorities soon after denied involvement, saying a misfired Palestinian rocket appeared to blame.

Outraged over the hospital blast, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II announced they were pulling out of a planned Arab summit Wednesday with President Joe Biden.

The White House and Jordan’s government announced within hours of the attack that Biden’s meeting with Arab leaders was off.

Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and other Arab nations condemned the hospital attack, or declared days of national mourning. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi declared the hospital explosion “a clear violation of international law … and humanity.”

Protests erupted in some Arab cities. In Beirut, protesters roamed the city on motorcycles and gathered outside the French embassy and a U.N. facility, in protests against the international community’s response to the civilian deaths in Gaza. Throngs of Jordanians gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Amman.

With inputs from agencies


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