Monday, July 15, 2024

29-year-old Wajiha al-Abyad described her childbirth experience as a nightmare, akin to a horror film. Her contractions began on October 29 at around 9 p.m. Despite calling for an ambulance, none were available due to the empty, dark streets and sounds of planes and shelling.

After about 40 minutes, an ambulance finally arrived and rushed her through damaged streets in the central Gaza Strip to Al-Awda Hospital in Nuseirat. The hospital’s maternity ward was no longer operational, as it had been repurposed to treat those injured in the war.

Under extreme pressure and amidst shelling, Wajiha al-Abyad gave birth to a baby boy named Ahmed. Hours after childbirth, she left the hospital with her newborn son and mother, walking for over three hours before finally flagging down a car.

Palestinian health officials report over 3,300 women and 5,000 children killed since the war began, with maternal, newborn, and child healthcare being severely disrupted by the bombardment and limited access to essential resources.

Now staying in Deir Al-Balah with her family, Wajiha al-Abyad is doing her best to find a safer place to raise her newborn. She seeks a place with access to electricity, water, and food, where children are respected.

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