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Northern Gaza faces 'imminent' risk of famine amid Israeli military offensive

The FAO points out that half of the Gazan population, nearly 1.

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Northern Gaza faces 'imminent' risk of famine amid Israeli military offensive

The FAO points out that half of the Gazan population, nearly 1.1 million people, face catastrophic levels of food insecurity

MADRID, 18 Mar. (EUROPA PRESS) -

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warned this Monday that famine is "imminent" in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, before adding that half of the Gazan population, about 1 .1 million people face catastrophic levels of food insecurity, in the midst of the offensive launched by Israel following the attacks carried out on October 7 by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas).

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) states that there is a risk of famine breaking out in this area of ​​​​the Palestinian enclave before the end of May 2024 if there is no ceasefire and an increase in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population.

Thus, the report states that, "according to the most probable scenario", the provinces of Northern Gaza and Gaza are in phase 5 - famine -, with 70 percent of the population, some 210,000 people, at "catastrophic" levels. ", while the southern provinces - Deir al Balaá, Khan Younis and Rafá - are in phase 4 - emergency -, with the possibility of falling into famine in July "in the worst case scenario."

The figures reflected in the CPI reflect that serious food insecurity has increased since December 2023, with 79 percent more of the population in catastrophic levels of hunger compared to said period, while the forecasts for the quarter between March and July indicate This figure could be 92 percent compared to three months ago.

"This update of the CPI analysis validates what we all feared: a deepening and rapid deterioration of the food security situation in Gaza," said FAO Deputy Director Beth Bechdol, who added that the figures "are the most discharges registered to date, something incomparable with what has been seen until now.

"In December, the IPC report noted that famine was likely. If steps are not taken to cease hostilities and provide more humanitarian access, famine is imminent. It could be happening already. Immediate access is needed to facilitate delivery urgent and critical aid, according to needs," he explained.

The data from the aforementioned report indicates that "virtually all households" in Gaza are skipping meals every day and that adults are reducing their intake so that children can eat. In the case of the northern part of the Strip, nearly two-thirds of households go without food for entire days, sometimes for a third of the days of the month, with one in three children under two years of age suffering from acute malnutrition.

The FAO has explained that the increase in hostilities has suspended deliveries of water, food and fuel in the face of Israel's offensive, while between 60 and 70 percent of dairy cattle have died or been slaughtered prematurely. to satisfy the needs of the population.

In this way, the FAO director for Emergencies and Resilience, Rein Paulsen, has emphasized that "it is vital that we focus on everything that involves keeping livestock alive, which involves guaranteeing access to milk, particularly to children who suffer from malnutrition or who are at risk of malnutrition. "In addition, people need to have access to nutritious and plant-based foods," he concluded.

For his part, Action Against Hunger's director of operations, Vincent Stehli, stressed that "he has never seen anything like it" in the 20 years that the NGO has been working in Gaza. "80 percent of the children have infectious diseases; 70 percent, diarrhea. They don't have enough food. "Health services cannot function," he warned.

"It is a perfect mix for malnutrition. This is just the beginning," he said, before emphasizing that "the cessation of hostilities and the reestablishment of humanitarian space to provide humanitarian aid and restore services are essential to eliminate any risk." of famine." "For this reason, Action Against Hunger continues to advocate for an immediate and permanent ceasefire," she reiterated.

The United Nations and various non-governmental organizations have repeatedly warned about the very serious humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave and have called on Israel to allow the unrestricted entry of humanitarian aid at a level equivalent to the needs. However, Israel defends its actions and argues that aid is already being delivered, including air shipments and the recent opening of a maritime corridor from Cyprus.

The Israeli Army launched an offensive against the Gaza Strip after the aforementioned attacks, which left 1,200 dead and 240 kidnapped. Since then, the Gazan authorities have reported the deaths of more than 31,700 people, including some 420 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem due to the actions of the security forces and attacks by Israeli settlers.