Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Famine threat in northern Gaza: report

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The Gaza Strip is facing a dire humanitarian crisis, with the threat of famine looming over the northern part of the region. A recent report released on Monday revealed that around 300,000 people in Gaza’s two northern governorates are at risk of famine, with the situation expected to deteriorate between now and May.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report, the famine threshold for acute food insecurity has already been surpassed, and acute malnutrition among children under five is rapidly approaching a critical level. Non-trauma mortality, another indicator of famine, is also on the rise, highlighting the severity of the situation in Gaza.

The report paints a grim picture of the food insecurity in Gaza, with 1.1 million people – half of the population – facing catastrophic hunger and starvation. This is the highest number of people ever recorded as experiencing such extreme levels of hunger by the IPC system, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

UN World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain expressed grave concern over the crisis, stating that people in Gaza are currently starving to death. She emphasized the need for immediate and full access to the north of Gaza to prevent an outright famine, as waiting until famine is declared would be too late and result in more casualties.

The report also highlighted a sharp increase in malnutrition across the Strip, with one in three children under two in the North Gaza governorate now acutely malnourished. The southern governorates of Deir Al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah are also at risk of slipping into famine conditions by July, further exacerbating the crisis.

To address the looming famine in Gaza, aid organizations require full access to provide essential services such as food, water, nutrition products, medicines, and health services to the civilian population. A humanitarian ceasefire is deemed necessary to facilitate this access and prevent further escalation of the crisis.

The World Food Programme estimates that at least 300 trucks per day are needed to address the basic food needs in Gaza, especially in the north. However, logistical challenges and delays at checkpoints hinder the delivery of aid to those in need. The recent delivery of 18 truckloads of food supplies to Gaza City demonstrates that it is possible to provide assistance, but sustained efforts are required to reach all communities in need.

WFP officials stress the importance of sustained road access and additional entry points into Gaza to ensure the timely delivery of aid. A ceasefire is urgently needed to allow for a massive relief operation to reach all affected communities and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

In conclusion, the situation in Gaza is dire, with the threat of famine looming over the region. Immediate action is needed to provide essential assistance to those in need and prevent further escalation of the crisis. A coordinated effort involving aid organizations, governments, and international partners is crucial to address the humanitarian emergency in Gaza and ensure the well-being of its population.

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