‘Living the Unimaginable’ – UN Decries Dire Situation of Gaza’s Women

A Palestinian woman in a displacement camp in Rafah, southern Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“Women in Gaza give birth without water. They have no food, no tents, no toilets. They are living the unimaginable.”

UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous has highlighted the challenges faced by women in the besieged Gaza Strip, saying they are “living the unimaginable.”

“Women in Gaza give birth without water. They have no food, no tents, no toilets. They are living the unimaginable,” Bahous said on X on Sunday.

“What women in Gaza need right now is a ceasefire and relief,” she added.

Bahous referenced an article by UN Women that she shared in her post.

The article cites Rana Khalil, a project coordinator for the Palestinian Working Women Society for Development (PWWSD), based in the West Bank who said “Women in Gaza are superheroes.”

She described “a recent call with her aunt in Gaza, who said that running water was sometimes available for two hours a day—and at other times for only two hours per week,” the report said.

According to the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, water production in Gaza as of February had dropped to just 5.7 percent of pre-7 October levels.

“Because there is no water, they cannot take a shower. They cannot wash their hair. So, there is a lot of lice now. They are shaving their hair,” Khalil said.

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‘War on Women’

As the UN warns of a looming famine, UN Women in a statement on March 1 listed seven facts as to why it said the war on Gaza “is also a war on women.”

Amongst the factors mentioned was that Israeli forces have reportedly killed an estimated 9,000 women in Gaza since Israel began its genocidal assault on the enclave last October.

Every day the war in Gaza continues at the current rate, the statement said, “an average of 63 women will continue to be killed.”

More than 4 out of 5 women (84 percent) report that their family eats half or less of the food they used to before the war began, with mothers and adult women being those tasked with sourcing food, yet eating last, less, and least than everyone else.

Rising Malnutrition Threatens Children’s Lives in Gaza – UNICEF

Some women “are now resorting to extreme coping mechanisms, such as scavenging for food under rubble or in dumpsters,” the statement added.

“Unless there is an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, many more will die in the coming days and weeks,” UN Women implored.

Last month, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said a steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in Gaza poses grave threats to their health.

Citing a comprehensive new analysis released by the Global Nutrition Cluster, UNICEF said that as the ongoing conflict in Gaza enters its 20th week, food and safe water have become incredibly scarce and diseases are rife.

This is “compromising women and children’s nutrition and immunity and resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition,” UNICEF said in a statement.

More than 32,300 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,333 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,694 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

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

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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