Women and Girls in Crisis in Gaza

© UNFPA Palestine

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is deepening, as fuel, water, food and lifesaving medical supplies run out. The health system is in a state of total collapse.

UNFPA condemns the violence in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank and echoes the UN Secretary-General’s call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages by Hamas, and for unimpeded access for humanitarian aid and workers within Gaza. 

Among Gaza’s population of 2.2 million people, 1 in 4 are women and girls of reproductive age – around 572,000 – who need access to reproductive health services. An estimated 50,000 pregnant women are caught up in the conflict, with around 5,500 due to give birth within the next 30 days – more than 160 deliveries every day. An estimated 840 women may experience pregnancy or birth-related complications. Many of these women have been cut off from safe delivery services as hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties, out of fuel for generators, and lacking medicines and basic supplies – including for the management of obstetric emergencies.

Around 73,000 women are currently pregnant in the West Bank, with more than 8,120 expected to give birth in the next month as the violence threatens to spill over. 

© Mohamed Zaanoun/Middle East Images/AFP via Getty Images

We remain committed to being there for every woman and girl and we are doing everything we can to deliver care.

UNFPA is dispatching lifesaving reproductive health medicines and supplies to Egypt for stockpiling and transportation across the border into Gaza when possible. As of 31 October, UNFPA has 3,000 dignity kits containing hygiene supplies in Egypt, ready to go into Gaza, as well as lifesaving reproductive health supplies, prepositioned and ready to be sent through Egypt. These health kits and supplies save the lives of pregnant women – they are as vital as food, water, and shelter. 

A UNFPA-supported helpline is available for women, youth and other people requiring assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. In addition, UNFPA provided more than 500 vulnerable women in Gaza with cash transfers to support their urgent needs and also supported the distribution of hygiene supplies and clothing to displaced women in 62 UNRWA shelters, among other initiatives.

In the West Bank, the Ministry of Health has redeployed midwives from hospitals to Safe Motherhood Emergency Centres supported by UNFPA, ensuring that midwives are accessible in every community. In addition, online support systems and referral services are helping to ensure women’s continued access to sexual and reproductive health care. 

With more than half of Gaza’s population displaced, the risk of violence against women and girls has increased exponentially, especially for those who are on the move or seeking refuge in overcrowded shelters where conditions are increasingly dire.

We can make a difference for the innocent women and girls who have found themselves in this crisis through no fault of their own. Today, we are urgently asking for your support to continue this vital work.  

“I couldn’t help but think about how my baby was feeling with every explosion. But every kick from my unborn child was giving me hope and strength,” a pregnant woman from northern Gaza told UNFPA from the school where she is currently sheltering. Another woman described going into labor as she and her family evacuated their home amid the bombardment. “I had no idea where or how I was going to deliver my baby.”

Our immediate priority is to meet the needs of women and girls facing an urgent and pressing need for sexual and reproductive health services and humanitarian assistance. No other organization has the infrastructure, relationships, expertise, or access to do the work we do. And through your support today, we can provide any woman or girl who seeks care from UNFPA with the lifesaving care she needs. We can make good on our promise to be there for every woman and girl. 

Your contribution can make a difference. Please, will you make an emergency humanitarian gift today to support women and girls surviving this crisis and crises around the world?  

After all this loss, peace must prevail. We condemn the violence in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel and echo the UN Secretary-General’s call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages by Hamas, and rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access.   

Be there for women and girls, no matter what

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