Around 15,000 babies expected to be born 'into crisis' in Gaza: Report
Nearly 15,000 babies are expected to be born in Gaza between Oct. 7 and the end of 2023, all of them at “grave risk amid escalating violence" and with “medical care, water and food at crisis levels,” Save the Children said Tuesday.
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"About 15% of women giving birth are likely to experience pregnancy or birth-related complications," the humanitarian organization said in a press release.
Their projection is based on recent UN data estimating that around 180 women give birth each day in the besieged Palestinian enclave and accounts for the rates of multiple births in the occupied Palestinian territory.
"Clean water is scarce, food and medicines are running low, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are struggling to find food. Hospitals and health facilities already facing severe shortages are under attack, putting thousands of patients, including pregnant women and newborns, in grave danger," the statement noted.
It cited Maha, a Save the Children staff member in the Gaza Strip who was displaced to the south but used to shelter outside Al Shifa Hospital.
"The scenes at the hospitals were horrible. Pregnant women in the hallways screaming in pain. Unidentified newborn babies in incubators, without any living family members. The fuel had run out. I had to flee. I don't know if they survived," she said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 22 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are now "non-functional."
"Babies are being born into a nightmare, a humanitarian catastrophe. Their families are being cut off from the basics. Pregnant women are giving birth without medical care and premature babies are dying in incubators," said Jason Lee, Save the Children's country director in the occupied Palestinian territory.
He said that fuel must be allowed into Gaza to power the generators and healthcare facilities must be protected.
"The violence must stop. We need a cease-fire. We need it now," he added.
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.
At least 11,320 Palestinians have been killed, including nearly 7,800 women and children, and more than 29,200 others have been injured, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities.
Thousands of buildings including hospitals mosques and churches have been damaged or destroyed in the Israeli offensive.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, stands at 1,200, according to official figures.