Babies deprived of basics

Gaza’s children have been forced to leave in unhealthy conditions. 

Naaman Omar APA images

Khaled is a baby.

Born shortly before Israel declared its genocidal war on Gaza, he has spent most of his life in very unhealthy conditions.

In the early stages of the war, his family had to evacuate their home in northern Gaza.

“We had to walk on streets filled with rubble,” Sahar, Khaled’s mother, said. “We were under constant bombardment. It was absolutely terrifying.”

Khaled’s parents are unable to provide him with the bare necessities.

Diapers are scarce. So are infant formula and other food items.

“He doesn’t even have enough winter clothes or blankets to cover him during the cold nights,” Sahar said.

Khuloud – a relative of Sahar – has a 1-year-old son. Displaced and malnourished, Khuloud is not able to produce sufficient breast milk for her child.

Her son requires special diapers as otherwise his skin becomes irritated. Finding them is impossible.

“Look at the prices,” Khuloud said. “A pack of diapers costs $50, 100 grams of baby milk $3, a pack of oat or wheat seeds $7, a jar of honey around $50. The list goes on and on.”

“Given these prices, it would cost us around $200 a week to take care of him,” she added. “That’s way more than we can afford.”


Mahmoud has fled Gaza City’s Beach refugee camp for Deir al-Balah in the Middle Area.

His 4-year-old son has started urinating in his sleep. Bedwetting is a known symptom of childhood trauma.

The boy’s “life is truly miserable,” Mahmoud, who has seven other children, said.

“He is at the age where he should no longer be wearing diapers,” Mahmoud added. “But he must do so at nighttime now.”

Mahmoud is a fisher. It is too dangerous for him to ply his trade.

Even before the current war, Israel was frequently attacking fishers.

“I have lost everything in this war,” Mahmoud said. “My home, my work. I have nothing left. It causes great pain to go back to my tent every single day and see this child crying for milk and bread.”

Muhammad has left al-Rimal, a neighborhood in Gaza City, for Deir al-Balah. His wife is pregnant.

“I am extremely concerned about her and my next son,” Muhammad said. “We are praying every single day that this war ends.”

“I’ve lost my work,” he added. “And we do not know what has happened to our home. I am just baffled and bewildered.”

Abubaker Abed is a journalist and translator from Deir al-Balah refugee camp in Gaza.