The chances of a newborn baby surviving in Gaza now are not good.

On the malnutrition ward at The Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza, babies only days old and often premature, fight for their lives.

Mothers are so malnourished themselves that they cannot breastfeed, and so babies are dying, literally starving to death, because they cannot get the vital nutrition that newborns need.

“Within two weeks, we detected more than 250 patients of malnutrition,” explains Dr Hassam Abu Safah, the hospital’s director.

“This was all detected in one hospital, our hospital, which means the number will most likely increase in the coming days. We ask the world to allow the entry of food and the entry of clear water.”

A mother tries to help her malnourished daughter at a field hospital in southern Gaza last month. Pic: Reuters

The body of a baby that didn’t pull through lies in a hospital incubator, awaiting burial. She was born two months premature because her mother was so exhausted.

Too soon for her parents to even name her. Her tiny body is now wrapped in a green shroud.

Another struggles for each breath, the bones of her exposed rib cage heave up and down with the little strength she has to keep living. Their nappies dwarf their skeletal bodies.

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The Rafah border crossing with Egypt remains closed because the Israel Defence Forces continues to occupy and operate in the land around it.

The US military pier has paused operations yet again, because of rough seas, and much of the aid it has delivered is yet to reach the Gazans who need it.

Israel has released images of aid stacked up on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom crossing and said it is the UN’s fault for not collecting it, but the UN has said law and order has broken down in Gaza and warned Israel it is close to suspending its operations.

Israel recently announced that a new power cable has been connected to a desalination plant run by UNICEF in Gaza.

The plant provides water to the Khan Yunis area and the move is designed to prevent an outbreak of disease during the summer months.

It will only provide minimal respite though. Much of Gaza is now just a network of streets and alleys, lined by high mounds of rubble and the shells of homes and shops. It is uninhabitable.

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Palestinians desperate for food amid aid crisis

Most people have now moved to humanitarian zones, living in tents or temporary structures. Fuel is scarce, so donkey and cart is the best way to get around if you’re lucky. Otherwise, it’s on foot.

Across Gaza, children queue with their pans, or plastic buckets, patiently waiting for the daily handout of food.

Meals are often plain rice or some soup. A couple of scoops will have to feed the whole family. Some of the children thrust their bowls to the front, desperate not to miss out.

When it’s almost all gone, they scrape what they can from the bottom. Nothing can go to waste.

A healthcare worker places baby shoes on a Palestinian flag during a vigil to remember and read out the names of the children who have been killed in Gaza, outside the U.S. embassy, amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Dublin, Ireland, June 8, 2024. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A healthcare worker in Dublin places a pair of baby shoes on a Palestinian flag at a vigil to remember the infants who have died in the war. Pic: Reuters

It’s well into the summer here now, temperatures are regularly into the mid or high-30s adding to the misery for hundreds of thousands who have to live under canvas and with little shade.

Old, or young, war has little respect for age, and it is always the most vulnerable who suffer the most.