The lives of at least 120 newborn newborns on incubators in Gaza’s hospitals are in jeopardy as fuel runs out in the besieged enclave, according to the UN Children’s Agency on Sunday.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, more than 1,750 children have now been murdered by Israeli strikes launched against the Gaza Strip in reprisal for the October 7 Hamas attacks.
Hospitals are suffering from a severe shortage of drugs, fuel, and water, not just for the thousands of people injured in the more than two-week conflict between Gaza terrorists and Israel, but also for ordinary patients.
“We have currently 120 neonates who are in incubators, out of which we have 70 neonates with mechanical ventilation, and of course this is where we are extremely concerned,” said UNICEF spokesman Jonathan Crickx.
Power is one of the key concerns for the seven specialist wards in Gaza that treat preterm babies to help with breathing and give crucial support, such as when their organs are not fully developed.
According to Israeli sources, Israel imposed a total blockade of the land following the Hamas attacks, in which the Islamist group killed 1,400 people, the majority of whom were civilians.
The World Health Organization said on Thursday that hospitals had already run out of gasoline for generators due to extensive power outages.
The WHO said that about 1,000 people needing dialysis will also be at risk if the generators stop.
Twenty aid trucks crossed from Egypt into Gaza on Saturday but there was no fuel in the consignment.
Israel fears that fuel could help Hamas, although the limited supplies still in Gaza were being diverted to keep the generators for medical equipment running.
“If they (babies) are put in mechanical ventilation incubators, by definition, if you cut the electricity, we are worried about their lives,” the UNICEF spokesman told AFP.
Gaza’s health ministry said on Saturday that 130 premature babies were in danger of dying due to the lack of fuel.
Around 160 women give birth each day in Gaza, according to the UN Population Fund, which estimates there are 50,000 pregnant women across the territory of 2.4 million people.
While Israel says its strikes are aimed at Hamas, which perpetrated the worst attack against Israel since its creation in 1948, children make up a huge proportion of the 4,385 dead reported by the Hamas-run health ministry.
Whole families, including pregnant women, have been killed in strikes and each day parents can be seen in devastated streets carrying the bodies of infants in white shrouds.
Doctors at Najjar hospital in Rafah spoke on Thursday of how they had tried in vain to save an unborn infant from a woman killed in an air strike on her family’s home.
Hours earlier, eight children were killed as they slept in a house in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.