LOULOU D’AKI

Gaza, war babies

Opposite the morgue in Gaza city, babies are born.

Since Operation Protective Edge began, Al Shifa hospital is overwhelmed by wounded and dead. In the emergency room, on the operation table or in the morgue. In times of war, the number of prematurely born babies rises due to the stress and the fear that many women suffer and which makes them give birth before due time. The midwifes in Al Shifa maternity clinic, opposite the morgue, are busy delivering babies.

The place had caught my eye since the first time I visited the morgue during Operation Cast Lead in November 2012. While waiting to be let inside the morgue, I noticed veiled women looking out the windows onto the crowd of mourners outside. I was told this was the maternity clinic. This eerie coexistence of birth and death does make sense in the Gaza strip.

5300 babies were born in the Gaza strip during the war in July-August 2014. Out of these over 3000 babies were born prematurely.

Maysa rests in a hospital bed after having given birth to a son, her 4th child. She lives in the Shatha camp and will go back home soon although numerous notifications from Israeli defense forces regarding homes that might be destroyed in airstrikes in the area makes her feel unsafe.

Curtains are drawn to give privacy to women who needs a rest after having given birth.

19-year old Rua rests in a bed at Al Shifa Maternity Clinic after having given birth to her first daughter Mira.

Refugees from Shishaya area who made Al Shifa hospital their temporary abode after having to evacuate their homes due to Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza strip, are seen from a window at the Maternity Clinic in Gaza City.

A woman who gave birth to a still born child sits on her hospital bed.

31-year old Sahar Dalar Erifi takes deep breaths to endure the pain as her contractions intensifies, Sahar will give birth prematurely.

Scisscors and tools used by midwives during delivery lies on a table in Al Shifa Maternity Clinic in Gaza city.

A woman passes in front of the Maternity Clinic and the Morgue in Al Shifa hospital, Gaza city.

Gaza strip under fire.

Israeli flairs over Gaza at night.

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