World / Middle East

Miracle baby dies after Israeli airstrike destroys power plant

By Lu Jiafei in Gaza (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-04 07:34

When newborn Shaima was delivered from her dead mother's womb after an Israeli airstrike on July 26, she was hailed as a miracle, a rare ray of light on one of Gaza's darkest days.

While the world was enthralled by the birth, some conscientious souls were raising the question: How will we explain to Shaima later about her birth?

The world is now spared the trouble. The Gaza miracle baby died on Wednesday after the incubator that kept her safe shut off because of a power outage inflicted by an Israeli bombardment.

Shaima was supposed to spend five weeks on a respirator to recover from a deprivation of oxygen caused by her mother's premature death 10 minutes before the surgery to save the baby was completed.

Hospital nurses said the she was stable and fared quite well. Unfortunately, nobody fares well in war. On Tuesday, the day before Shaima died, Israel broadened its assault on the Gaza Strip after hope of a cease-fire flickered briefly and then died during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Gazans called that day "the darkest day ever" since July 8, when the Israeli military operation began, not only because it had the worst casualty count - more than 125 deaths in a single day - but because on that day Israel wrecked the region's only power plant.

Mohamed al-Sharif, director of the plant said the fuel tanks at the station were destroyed at 7 am local time on Tuesday, and fire devoured the main turbine that generated electricity, thus exposing 90 percent of the 1.8-million population to an indefinite blackout.

As a result, despite hospital staffs' frantic efforts to save her, the five-day-old newborn died from complications after her oxygen tubes failed to work properly.

For Palestinians squeezed in the besieged coastal enclave, the birth of Shaima represented hope for life amid unbearable and relentless suffering. Unfortunately, the light turned out to be a false dawn again.

When Shaima was still breathing, she was too tiny and fragile even to open her eyes, never having a chance to see the world into which she was born. However, m

Miracle baby dies after Israeli airstrike destroys power plant

Many people in Gaza now may consider that a blessing in disguise.

When a Xinhua reporter talked to Palestinians in and out of Gaza, no one actually seemed surprised. It's the price Palestinians in Gaza pay for occupation and blockade every couple of years, they say.

Still, Operation Protective Edge, entering its fourth week, shocked people by its death toll and relentless destruction.

"During the last 27 days of war on the Gaza Strip, Israel killed so far 1,766 people and wounded 9,500 others, two thirds of them are civilians, including women, children and elderly," said the health ministry in an emailed statement.

A massive exodus of displaced people also created a bizarre scene of ghost towns in northern Gaza and cramped. makeshift shelters in the central region.

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency Commis-sioner-General Pierre Kra-henbuhl, nearly half a million Palestinians have been displaced since the start of the conflict, among whom, 240,000 are currently residing in UN facilities. Refugees are now being turned away because of a shortage of resources.

During the past month, only a couple of short-lived humanitarian breaks enabled Palestinian refugees to retreat from shelters to check their houses. For the rare lucky ones, the house remained intact. But for others, the scene usually looked like the aftermath of an earthquake.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, some 5,000 houses were destroyed during Israeli airstrikes, with 26,270 more seriously damaged.


 Miracle baby dies after Israeli airstrike destroys power plant

In the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, a Palestinian woman faints after learning of the death of her sister. Medics said the sister was killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house. Suhaib Salem / Reuters

(China Daily 08/04/2014 page12)

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