ANI Photo | Gaza faces imminent famine as over 1 mn grapple with starvation, UN report warns

Famine looms large over northern Gaza, where more than 1 million people are on the brink of starvation, warned a recent UN-backed report, CNN reported.
The dire situation, exacerbated by acute hunger affecting 70 per cent of the population, paints a grim picture of imminent catastrophe. With half of Gaza’s 2.2 million inhabitants facing severe food shortages, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) projects famine could strike the north between mid-March and May 2024.
The crisis has already surpassed the threshold for famine, with reports of starvation-related deaths, including children and infants, reaching alarming numbers. Desperate measures such as scavenging for food, consuming grass and animal feed, and drinking contaminated water have become distressingly common. Mothers, unable to produce sufficient milk, struggle to nourish their babies, while overwhelmed health facilities grapple with the demand for infant formula, according to CNN.
gaza faces imminent famine as over 1 mn grapple with starvation un report warns – The News Mill
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed grave concern, labelling the situation as the worst-ever recorded in terms of catastrophic hunger.
The toll of preventable suffering underscores the urgent need for intervention. Yet, the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, accuses Israel of exacerbating the crisis by impeding humanitarian aid, effectively weaponising starvation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refutes these claims, asserting Israel’s commitment to facilitating humanitarian assistance.
However, aid agencies dispute this assertion, citing ongoing obstacles to aid delivery imposed by Israeli authorities. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), responsible for access to Gaza, faces accusations of imposing arbitrary and contradictory criteria, hindering relief efforts, as reported by CNN.
The consequences of this man-made crisis extend beyond immediate hunger, with long-term repercussions on children’s health and well-being. Malnutrition rates among children under two years old are alarming, indicating the severity of the humanitarian emergency. In the south, governorates such as Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah also face escalating food insecurity, with the risk of famine looming through July 2024.
gaza faces imminent famine as over 1 mn grapple with starvation un report warns 1 – The News Mill
Scarce supplies and disrupted livelihoods exacerbate the suffering, with households resorting to drastic measures to cope with food shortages. Adults sacrifice their own meals to ensure their children eat, while many households report skipping meals altogether. The looming specter of famine underscores the urgent need for unrestricted access to Gaza to deliver essential supplies and avert further catastrophe.
Despite international concerns and calls for a ceasefire, Israeli plans for a ground offensive in Rafah persist, raising fears of heightened violence and civilian casualties. US President Joe Biden has voiced deep apprehension over the situation, emphasizing the need to prioritize the protection of Palestinian civilians and facilitate humanitarian assistance.
As the humanitarian crisis worsens, urgent action is imperative to prevent further suffering and loss of life. Ceasing hostilities and ensuring unimpeded access for aid organizations are critical steps toward mitigating the crisis. The international community must unite in efforts to address the root causes of the crisis and provide much-needed relief to the people of Gaza, according to CNN.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is not only a matter of immediate concern but also a long-term challenge that requires sustained attention and action. While emergency relief efforts are essential to address the immediate needs of the population, a comprehensive approach is needed to address the underlying factors contributing to food insecurity and poverty in the region.
gaza faces imminent famine as over 1 mn grapple with starvation un report warns 2 – The News Mill
One of the key factors exacerbating the crisis in Gaza is the ongoing blockade imposed by Israel, which restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of the territory. The blockade has severely limited access to essential goods and services, including food, medicine, and fuel, and has crippled Gaza’s economy, leaving many residents unemployed and unable to afford basic necessities.
In addition to the blockade, Gaza has also been plagued by decades of conflict and political instability, which have further undermined the region’s ability to address the root causes of poverty and food insecurity. The recent escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian militant groups has only exacerbated the situation, leading to widespread destruction and displacement and further straining already limited humanitarian resources.
Addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza will require a coordinated and sustained effort by the international community, including governments, humanitarian organizations, and civil society groups. This effort must include not only emergency relief assistance but also long-term development programs aimed at addressing the underlying causes of poverty and food insecurity in the region, CNN reported.

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