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One quarter of Gaza’s people one step away from famine, UN says

One quarter of Gaza’s people one step away from famine, UN says
An activist raises her red-painted hands during a protest to demand the opening of Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, outside of the Egyptian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, 19 February 2024. Thousands of Israelis and Palestinians have been killed since the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October 2023, and the Israeli strikes on the Palestinian enclave which followed it. EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH

At least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip - one quarter of the population - are one step away from famine, a senior U.N. aid official told the Security Council on Tuesday, warning that widespread famine could be "almost inevitable" without action.

By Michelle Nichols

“Very little will be possible while hostilities continue and while there is a risk that they will spread into the overcrowded areas in the south of Gaza. We therefore reiterate our call for a ceasefire,” said Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

One in six children under age 2 in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition and wasting and practically all the 2.3 million people in the Palestinian enclave rely on “woefully inadequate” food aid to survive, he told the Security Council.

Rajasingham said the U.N. and aid groups face “overwhelming obstacles just to get a bare minimum of supplies into Gaza.” These include crossing closures, restrictions on movement and communication, onerous vetting procedures, unrest, damaged roads and unexploded ordnance, he said.

Israel is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza, said Israel’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Miller, adding that the limitations on the quantity and pace of aid are dependent on the capacity of the U.N. and other agencies.

“Israel has been clear in its policies. There is absolutely no limit, and I repeat, there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid that can be sent to the civilian population of Gaza,” Miller told the Security Council.

 

‘ISRAEL MUST DO MORE’

The U.S. urged its ally Israel to keep border crossings open for humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza and to facilitate opening of more crossings, Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood told the Security Council.

“Simply put, Israel must do more,” he said. “We continue to call on Israel to improve deconfliction procedures to ensure aid can move safely and securely.”

The World Food Programme “is ready to swiftly expand and scale up our operations if there is a ceasefire agreement,” WFP Deputy Executive Director Carl Skau told the Security Council.

“But in the meantime, the risk of famine is being fueled by the inability to bring critical food supplies into Gaza in sufficient quantities, and the almost impossible operating conditions faced by our staff on the ground,” Skau said.

The war in Gaza began when Hamas fighters attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza has since killed around 30,000 Palestinians, health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave say.

“Starvation as a method of warfare is illegal and Guyana condemns those who are deliberately using this as a tool against the population in Gaza,” Guyana’s U.N. Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett told the 15-member council.

Israel’s campaign in Gaza “is a collective punishment for the Palestinian civilian people,” Algeria’s U.N. Ambassador Amar Bendjama told the Security Council. “Our silence grants a license to kill and to starve the Palestinian population.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Ben Harper says:

    In other words, they’re not there are they.

  • Agf Agf says:

    Two factors worth mentioning:
    There seems to be a constant argument about the amount of aid entering Gaza. Israel says there is no restriction and they have put in more inspection staff at the crossings. They say they can handle more traffic but the traffic (ie the trucks) are simply not present. So it’s not their problem, it is the humanitarian organizations who are not sending enough aid. Of course once the aid enters Gaza it is hijacked by Hamas and thieves, but that is another matter.
    Secondly a question I have never seen asked or answered: why are there so many children in Gaza? According to mainstream media, if you can believe them, over HALF the population of Gaza are children. That’s over one million!! Why so many? If conditions are so appalling in Gaza and it really is an “open air concentration camp” as quoted time and time again by Gazans themselves, why would anybody want to bring babies into the world in these conditions?

    • jeff katz says:

      Your comment is precise and piercing. Regrettably the UN will use this in an attempt to reinforce their narrative aimed at discrediting Israel when the core of the problem rests entirely with this woeful entity (an undoubted Hamas proxy). They are so removed from anything humanitarian, it’s disgusting.
      Your observation about the children of Gaza, jugular. And this explosion all since 2005. And this is supposed to “reinforce” Israel’s genocidal intent.

  • Alan Jeffrey says:

    My wife is Jewish and I as a Christian, have always been on the side of Israel. When Hamas committed their atrocities last year most of the world INCLUDING many millions of Muslims ,felt shame and sympathy for Israel. This goodwill has been almost completely destroyed by Netenyahu’s hugely disproportionate response in the destruction of Gaza and death and injuries caused to tens of thousands of Palestinians who played no part in the Hamas horror. A crude and blunt operation that has severely damaged Israel

  • Agf Agf says:

    Considering there are well over a billion Muslims in the world, your claim that “many millions of Muslims felt shame and sympathy” holds no water. The brutal truth is that the people of Gaza support Hamas. They have in the past and they still do. They supported and celebrated the massacre of 7 October. They are complicit with Hamas. They allowed them to build the tunnels beneath their Hospitals, School, Mosques and their own houses. They sheltered the terrorists and protected them. They hid their weapons beneath their children’s beds. Stop blaming Israel.

    • jeff katz says:

      Excellently articulated, AGAIN !!!!

    • Alan Jeffrey says:

      Agf- many millions of Muslims out of ONE BILLION is a tiny %. The point I was trying to make is that no ethnic or national group on the planet includes any two identical personalities. Each and EVERY one of us is different. I have many Jewish friends who are appalled by Netenyahu’s crude actions. I also have Muslim friends who sympathised with the Jewish victims of last years terror attacks. Do you not follow the news-if you did you would hear the increasing disquiet not to say anger from many of all backgrounds worldwide INCLUDING the US President. I have always regarded the Holocaust as the worst crime in history, but by painting ALL Palestinians as avid Hamas supporters do you not see how this echoes the actions of many who persecuted the Jewish people in the past with crude generalisations?

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