The report found that Gazans are at risk of famine as they face acute levels of hunger

Abood Abusalama/AFP/Middle East Images/Getty Images

The mother of severely malnourished Amjed al-Kanua (3) shows her son prescribed pills in the Jabaliya camp in northern Gaza on June 9, 2024.


Gaza’s entire population is at risk of famine within the next three months as the war between Israel and Hamas continues, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) said on Tuesday.

“A high risk of famine remains throughout the Gaza Strip as long as the conflict continues and humanitarian access is restricted,” the report said. “Only a cessation of hostilities combined with humanitarian access to the entire Gaza Strip can reduce the risk of famine in the Gaza Strip.”

The report predicts that 96% of Gaza’s population – more than 2 million people – will face crisis, emergency or catastrophic levels of food security by at least the end of September. Nearly half a million people are predicted to face catastrophic conditions, the most severe on the IPC scale where people “experience severe food insecurity, starvation and exhaustion of coping skills”.

The report’s findings echo the testimonies of those on the ground about the horrific humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Almost nine months Israel’s bombing and siege They have undermined the health care system, affected water infrastructure and created dire conditions for a population of more than 2.2 million.

Increased Israeli attacks on the southern city of Rafah have sparked mass displacement and outbreaks of infectious diseases in sprawling tent camps where people lack access to basic sanitation. without any symptoms Immediate ceasefire Aid workers say that agreeing to stop fighting will only worsen the suffering of civilians on the ground.

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“Recent data show that in order to buy food, more than half of households had to exchange their clothes for money and a third tried to sell garbage,” the report describes. “Often, more than half reported that there was no food to eat at home, and more than 20 percent went days and nights without food.”

The report acknowledged some improvement in the situation in Gaza’s north, where the IPC warned in March that famine was imminent. Tuesday’s report estimated that the increase in food distribution in March and April had “reduced the severity and extent of acute food insecurity and malnutrition, averting a famine in the northern governorates”.

The report said the situation worsened with the launch of Israel’s military operations in Rafah, despite some progress in southern Gaza at the time. The Rafah crossing, the main route for humanitarian aid to Gaza, has been closed since early May, and only a few land crossings remain open. Humanitarian aid workers face great risks trying to deliver much-needed aid to Gaza. Israel’s war against Hamas has destroyed much of the infrastructure to support humanitarian work in Gaza.

“The humanitarian space in the Gaza Strip continues to shrink and the ability to safely deliver aid to the population is diminishing,” the report said. “The recent trajectory is negative and very volatile. If this continues, the gains seen in April will be quickly reversed.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has repeatedly called on the Netanyahu government to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. US President Joe Biden warned in early April that Israel must take immediate affirmative action or risk changes in US policy. So far, there have been no such changes in policy.

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“We’ve seen them take effective steps,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said last week. “When we look at reports from humanitarian groups, the IPC makes reports from time to time, we will look at them. If there are things that need to be changed, we will not hesitate to be direct with Israel about how they should make those changes. But we have seen progress in the aid situation in the north and some stagnation in the south. That’s what we want to see in reverse.

Meanwhile, humanitarian workers are warning that the situation in Gaza is spiraling out of control.

“In the north, when the famine alert was raised, we were able to get a few more trucks in. So, for now, that’s good. Not good — I don’t want to give the wrong impression here that it’s all hunky dory, because it’s not,” World Food Program director Cindy said. “There’s still a huge need in the North, and it’s complicated,” McCain said. For this reason it is complicated. It’s not just food they need. They need water, they need sanitation, they need sanitation. All these contribute to famine.

A humanitarian official told CNN, “I think we’re going to go back very quickly to the path we’ve been seeing in the north.” In northern Gaza 300,000 people give or buy and the scale is huge. One and a half to 1.8 million people in the South Central are now in a similar boat.

Kate Phillips-Barasso of Mercy Corps added, “People can no longer endure these hardships. The number of military operations remains high, and without dramatic changes in the delivery of humanitarian aid, we fear the death toll will rise as people endure months of deprivation.

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“The humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating, and the horror of Gaza continues to hang over Gaza,” Phillips-Barasso told CNN. “Although some aid is available, there are obvious contradictions. Commercial trucks are allowed to pass through, although humanitarian aid is limited, border inspections are carried out, and when allowed to cross, only reach a few city centers without proper security.

“Adding to the suffering are summer heat, lack of access to clean water and increased exposure to garbage and sewage. This dangerous equation will undoubtedly lead to severe suffering and death,” he said.

On Friday, the Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, called for “unimpeded, regular, coordinated and meaningful humanitarian assistance”.

This story has been updated.

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