Home Uncategorized New famine alert for Gaza where families go days without food

New famine alert for Gaza where families go days without food

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According to the latest UN-partnered Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report, 96 per cent of the population – some 2.15 million people – face acute food insecurity at “crisis” level or higher – IPC 3 (check out our explainer on the IPC here).

Included in this number are almost half a million people enduring “catastrophic” conditions (IPC 5), the IPC update noted – underscoring the “high risk” of famine across the whole Gaza Strip “as long as conflict continues and humanitarian access is restricted”.

Access critical

At the same time, the update pointed to “a slight improvement” in the food security situation in Gaza’s northern governorates where potential famine was feared by the end of May.

“The improvement shows the difference that greater access can make,” said the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in response to the IPC findings. “Increased food deliveries to the north and nutrition services have helped to reduce the very worst levels of hunger, leaving a still desperate situation.”

Not one centimetre is safe

There are “no safe centimetres left” in Gaza where the laws of war continue to be disregarded at the expense of the shattered enclave’s people and humanitarian organizations, a UN aid worker said on Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva after her second deployment to Gaza, Yasmina Guerda from the UN aid coordination office (OCHA) said that delivering aid there has become an exasperating “daily puzzle” that has left malnourished children without the lifesaving help they need.

“A direct observation on the ground every day is that there are no safe centimetres left in Gaza. There is nowhere you can be and be certain that there isn’t going to be an attack on you that night,” she said.

After nearly nine months of intense Israeli bombardment and ground operations sparked by Hamas-led terror attacks and hostage-taking on 7 October, basic needs are greater than ever for Gazans forced to flee their homes at a moment’s notice, in line with repeated orders to evacuate issued by the Israeli military.

You have 10 to 15 minutes to leave your building because it’s going to be bombed. Your kids are sleeping in the room next door,” Ms. Guerda said.

“You have to make split-second decisions to decide what to pack, what’s essential and how do you define what’s essential? Birth certificates, IDs, baby formula… It’s a story I heard time and again by people who fled Gaza City, Jabalia, Khan Younis, Deir Al-Balah and now of course Rafah.”

More than 35 displaced people were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit an UNRWA-run school in Nuseirat, Central Gaza.

More than 35 displaced people were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit an UNRWA-run school in Nuseirat, Central Gaza.

Nuseirat nightmare

Recalling the Israeli military operation two weeks ago to release four Israeli hostages being held in Nuseirat in central Gaza that left hundreds killed and injured according to the local health authorities, the UN humanitarian officer insisted that the neighbourhood’s residents received no such warning.

“They were just trying to have a meal with whatever they had secured that day when the bombing started and lasted for two full hours and tank shells and gunshots. We were working a couple of kilometres away and the walls, the doors, the windows of our building were shaking. We didn’t know what was happening, we found out after.”

After the attack, Ms. Guerda described going to the field hospital and finding children who had lost limbs “staring in the void, too shellshocked to produce a sound or a tear. For those who survived the bombing of their neighbourhood by getting away on time, it’s only the beginning of the nightmare.”

Getting humanitarian relief to these survivors and the more than one million uprooted from Rafah in southern Gaza in a matter of 10 to 14 days – remains extremely difficult, in particular since the Israeli military operation shut the key border crossing there in early May, the OCHA officer continued.

“Delivering aid in Gaza is a daily puzzle across the board, you know if all, the daily fighting, the insufficiency of absolutely everything you need, the regular attacks on our storage facilities, the pile of administrative impediments, bad internet, weak phone networks, destroyed roads, you name it.

“We spend hours waiting at checkpoints, coordinating, compromising a way through.”

Concern over ‘crackdown’ on anti-war protesters

In a related development, a top independent rights expert expressed concern at the recent “violent crackdown” on anti-war campus protesters in the United States where demonstrators called for a ceasefire and for a review of their institutions’ links with Israel.

“What’s alarming is the unequal treatment of those expressing themselves,” said Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the right to education.

“Pro-Palestinian protesters including Jewish students confront disproportionately harsh responses, allegedly for antisemitic views with criticism of the State of Israel conflated with antisemitism,” she told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

The independent expert, who does not work for the UN, noted that all governments “must prohibit incitement to violence, hostility or discrimination” while insisting that the expression of critical political opinions was not grounds for the restriction of freedom of expression.



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