“The battle has kept my child’s name blank thus far. Keifaia Abu Asser states, “She’s four days old.” In a corner of a UN-run school shelter in Rafah, southern Gaza, Keifaia sits on a straw mat holding her red-blanked infant daughter.

Her face shows signs of stress and fatigue. Anywhere in the world, becoming a first-time mother is difficult, but Keifaia had to experience unspeakable trauma.

The 24-year-old, who was born and raised in northern Gaza, and her family left their home when the Israeli military advised residents to relocate to the southern part of the Strip in order to protect themselves.

Keifaia had a large pregnancy.

 

I was forced to escape from one location to another. I was really worn out. We first visited the Nuseirat Camp. However, there was a bombing nearby. I witnessed partially dismembered bodies. It was very challenging,” she says to a freelance journalist for the BBC based in Gaza.

Like many others, Keifaia had to trek miles while fearing bombings. She and her family are among the hundreds of thousands of people who have evacuated northern Gaza.

It posed a serious risk to my unborn kid. I was constantly afraid,” she claims

When the family arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah City, they discovered that the maternity ward was closed. Next, Keifaia was relocated to “It was very hard because the number of women giving birth was huge,” she recounts. “They were coming from all parts of Gaza, from the north to the south and everywhere in between.”

“There was a shortage of painkillers,” she continues. “So they only administered it if the pain became really unbearable and only to those most in need.”

She didn’t take any painkillers during labor.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), airstrikes, damage, and a lack of fuel have rendered more than half of Gaza’s hospitals inoperable. Despite the situation of facilities, the UN projects that 50,000 pregnant women have been impacted by the fighting, and 160 deliveries are anticipated daily.

Due to hospitals’ overflowing patient lists, fuel shortages for generators, and shortages of essential medications and equipment, particularly those needed to handle obstetric emergencies, many expectant mothers have been denied access to safe delivery services.

Among them was Ola Abu Oali.

“My infant is 22 days old. “This school is where he was born during the war,” she informs Majdi Fathi, a freelance writer for

Ola also has a little son. Right now, everyone of them is residing in a different, packed UN school shelter in Rafah.

“My two kids are falling ill. They have severe diarrhoea and bloated stomachs. My baby throws up every time I breastfeed him. “My other child’s condition hasn’t changed, even though I’ve had to take him to the hospital three times to put him on a drip,” she claims.

One of the main issues facing the displaced people in Gaza is getting access to potable water. According to the UN, a person can only use three liters of water each day to meet all of their needs.

“Water is not available to us. There’s no milk for my little one. Additionally, the state of the restrooms is intolerable. We have to wait our time to use it since there is a stench,” Ola remarks.

Yousef Wafaa Ola and Fakhry Ahmed are both taking refuge in the same school.

“I have a baby. I worry for the life of my child. As my due date draws near, I’m concerned about contracting illnesses and the state of my living situation. We don’t have water for rudimentary hygiene,” she claims.

Wafaa, whose hometown is Beit Hanoun, which is close to Gaza’s northern border, has also relocated in quest of protection.

We started by visiting a school in the Al-Muaskar neighborhood. We went further south after being ordered to leave there as well. During some of the journey, we made use of donkeys and carts. But we strolled for the most of it,” she says. Since we didn’t have any water with us, we could only drink

We started by visiting a school in the vicinity of Al-Muaskar. We went further south after being ordered to leave there as well. During some of the journey, we made use of donkeys and carts. But we strolled for the most of it,” she says. “The only thing we could do was drink from the sea because we didn’t have any water with us. My spouse made a valiant effort to retrieve a single bottle for our consumption.”

According to the WHO, given Gaza’s lack of access to quality healthcare, there should be a rise in maternal mortality there. It claims that there is an increase in stress-related miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature deliveries as a direct and fatal result of the hostilities on pregnancy.

From Gaza City, Asma is currently residing

in a tent on the grounds of the Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, with her three small children.

She was compelled to leave her house and had visited the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for a check-up before to becoming pregnant.

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