Gaza's Women, Children Suffer Major Blow In Israel-Hamas War

Lack of shelter, food, and medical attention during the Israel-Hamas conflict has had horrifying impacts on the life of women and children of Gaza.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
Photo credit: Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty ImagesIsrael-Hamas War: Women and Children of Gaza Worst Hit by Conflict

The impact of bombarding and living in unfavourable conditions of shelter facilities can have deadly psychological impact in women and children. Photo: Anadolu Agency

Women, children and newborns in Gaza are disproportionately bearing the brunt of casualties and inaccessibility to health services, global humanitarian organisations reported. According to the Ministry of Health, 2,326 women and 3,760 children have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, representing 67% of all casualties, while thousands more have been injured. This means that 420 children are killed or injured every day.


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency (UNFPA), and World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the bombardments, massive levels of displacement and unavailability of food, medicine, water, and electricity are severely disrupting maternal, newborn, and child health services.

Acute Lack Of Healthcare

The report states that there are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. 15% of them are likely to experience pregnancy or birth-related complications and need additional medical care. These women are neither able to access the emergency obstetric services, nor prenatal and postnatal care.

On November 1, a crucial maternity hospital, Al Hilo, was bombed. With 14 hospitals and 45 primary healthcare centres closed, some women are left to give birth at home, in shelters, in the streets amid rubble, or in unsanitary healthcare facilities. 

The report also said that malnutrition amongst pregnant women and mothers is at an all-time high due to a lack of food and water. The psychological toll of the hostilities also has consequences on reproductive health, including a rise in stress-induced miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births. 

Given these conditions, maternal deaths are expected to increase, the report further stated. The lives of newborn babies are under threat too, due to insufficient fuel left for neonatal and intensive care services like incubators and other medical equipment. No fuel has come into the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to the report.


Subjected to illnesses at shelters

Over half of Gaza’s population is taking refuge in UNRWA facilities, where 4,600 displaced pregnant women and about 380 newborns require medical attention. The dire conditions of the shelters with inadequate water and food supplies have caused 22,500 cases of acute respiratory infections and 12,000 cases of water-borne diseases like diarrhoea.

The report stated that despite the lack of sustained and safe access, UN agencies have dispatched medicines and equipment to Gaza, including supplies for newborns and reproductive healthcare. The statement urged that all parties must protect children from harm and afford them the special protection to which they are entitled under international humanitarian and human rights laws.

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