Gaza mother gives birth to quadruplets after walking 5km to flee war

Woman, 28, walked to Jabalia refugee camp while six months pregnant

Displaced Gaza mother gives birth to quadruplets

Displaced Gaza mother gives birth to quadruplets
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A woman has given birth to quadruplets in a hospital in southern Gaza, kilometres from her home in the north of the war-torn enclave.

Iman Al Masri fled Beit Hanun city on foot with her three children while six months pregnant, days into the Israel-Gaza war which began on October 7 with Hamas's attack on Israel.

Ms Al Masri, 28, who was six months pregnant at the time, walked 5km to the Jabalia refugee camp, looking for a means of transport that would take them to Deir Al Balah, farther south.

She told The National she sought refuge in Jabalia camp but, fearing strikes and attacks on the camp, was forced to move farther south to Dier Al Balah city.

“I reached Dier Al Balah and stayed in one of the UNRWA schools,” she said.

“I was in the beginning of my seventh month of pregnancy. I felt labour pains and was transferred to the hospital immediately.”

Suffering from anaemia, she had to stay in hospital for four days.

She eventually underwent an emergency Caesarean and gave birth to daughters Tia and Lynn and sons Yasser and Mohammed on December 18.

Ms Al Masri was soon asked to leave the hospital with three of the babies to make room for other patients of the war, but Mohammed was too fragile to leave.

Now, with Tia, Lynn and Yasser, they live in a cramped schoolroom-turned-shelter in Deir Al Balah with about 50 other members of their extended family.

“The place where I am staying is not a suitable place for a woman who has delivered four babies, with no suitable food, or furniture for me and the babies,” she said.

Her sister-in-law, Shorok Al Masri, stayed with her to help take care of the babies.

One of the girls needed special attention and breastfeeding because she suffered from jaundice, Ms Al Masri told The National.

“The situation is so difficult for the babies and the mother,” she said. “Their father can’t earn money now because there is no chance for work.”

The Gaza Strip, home to 2.4 million people, lies in ruins from the north to the south. According to UN estimates, the fighting has displaced 1.9 million Palestinians internally.

The conflict erupted when Hamas gunmen attacked southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Palestinian militants also took about 250 hostages, 129 of whom remain in captivity, Israel has said.

Israel retaliated with a relentless bombardment and a siege of Gaza followed by a ground invasion from October 27.

The campaign has killed at least 21,110 people, according to the latest toll issued by the Gaza Health Ministry, about two thirds of them women and children.

Ms Al Masri's husband Ammar, 33, said he is devastated because he cannot provide for his family.

“I feel helpless,” he told AFP. “I fear for my children. I don't know how to protect them,” he said, adding that he spends most of his days outdoors searching for food.

“Tia must be breastfed and my wife needs nutritious food that contains protein. The children need milk and diapers. But I cannot get any of that.”

There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day, the UNRWA has said.

Updated: December 28, 2023, 11:24 AM