UNFPA in Gaza
Restoring Reproductive Health Services and Addressing Post-Traumatic Stress in Gaza
United Nations, 20 January 2009 — In a visit to the Gaza Strip today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced shock and anger at the ‘heartbreaking’ devastation, according to Reuters. Israeli attacks reportedly killed 1,300 and made thousands homeless before the ceasefire took affect on 18 January.
As UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya A. Obaid told her Executive Board today these reports do not include deaths and delivery-related injuries of pregnant women who had no services to fully support them during the conflict. “These are silent deaths and injuries that are forgotten because they are invisible to our eyes,” she told the board. Some 3,700 women went into labour during the 22 days of conflict, she said.
In this early recovery phase, UNFPA, as part of a coordinated interagency effort, will be working on two main fronts: restoring reproductive health care, including maternal and neonatal services, and providing psychosocial support to traumatized survivors. UNFPA plans are contingent on being able to move humanitarian supplies and building materials as well as technical experts into Gaza. For the time being, the movement of people and goods, is severely restricted. more...