UN Women sounds alarm for Rafah: 93% of women feel unsafe

UN Women sounds alarm for Rafah: 93% of women feel unsafe

Shafaq News/ The United Nations Women's Agency on Tuesday warned that any intensified military operations would bring increased death and despair for Rafah's 700,000 women and girls.

New UN Women survey data from Rafah highlights the depth of physical and mental despair, "with 93% of women interviewed feeling unsafe and over half reporting medical conditions requiring urgent attention. With any Israeli ground invasion," suggesting that these numbers will soar.

"With the population of the southern city of Rafah, in Gaza, ballooning fivefold, from 250,000 to 1.4 million people, in just seven months of war, the physical and mental health conditions for women and girls have been deteriorating rapidly, as new data collected by UN Women reveals." The UN agency said.

"The imminent risk of death and injuries among Rafah's 700,000 women and girls will escalate with any ground invasion, as they have nowhere to go to escape the bombing and killing."

The Agency pointed out that more than 10,000 women have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, among them 6,000 mothers leaving 19,000 orphaned children behind.

According to the UN Women data, over 80% of women report feelings of depression, 66% are not able to sleep, and over 70% have heightened anxiety and nightmares.

In addition, more than 51% of women surveyed have had a medical condition requiring urgent medical attention since the start of the war, with 62%unable to pay for necessary medical care.

The Agency also revealed that about 6 out of 10 of the interviewed women who are currently pregnant or have been pregnant since October 7 reported complications, including 95% reporting urinary tract infections, 80% anemia, 30% pre-term labor, and 50% hypertensive disorders. Moreover, 72% reported that there are challenges in breastfeeding and in meeting the nutritional needs of babies.

"Women in Rafah struggle to protect the physical and mental well-being of their children while also bearing increased burdens of caregiving and domestic responsibilities, particularly in tents and overcrowded households."

8 out of 10 female and male respondents stated that mothers are more responsible than men for emotional support for adult family members and children.

"Women and girls in Rafah, as in the rest of Gaza, are in a state of constant despair and fear already. A ground invasion would be an unbearable escalation that risks killing thousands more civilians and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee again. We must protect civilians. We need an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded and safe humanitarian aid distribution across all Gaza. The need for peace has never been more urgent. This is our only hope", said Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director.

UN Women called for implementing the UN Security Council resolution 2728 (2024), which demands an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian aid.

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