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Israel-Gaza war: Half of Gaza’s population is starving, warns UN

9th December 2023 | 27 Views

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Screenshot 20231209 210115According to a high-ranking United Nations (UN) aid official, a dire situation is unfolding in Gaza, with approximately half of its population experiencing starvation amidst ongoing conflict. Carl Skau, the deputy director of the UN World Food Programme, has expressed deep concern over the limited amount of essential supplies that have been able to reach Gaza. Shockingly, nine out of ten individuals in the region are unable to have a meal each day. Mr. Skau highlighted the extremely challenging conditions in Gaza that have made the delivery of aid nearly impossible.

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In response, Israel has justified its continued air strikes on Gaza by emphasizing the need to eliminate Hamas and secure the release of Israeli hostages. Lt Col Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, acknowledged the pain and suffering caused to civilians but claimed that there is no viable alternative. He further stated that every effort is being made to ensure a maximum amount of aid reaches the Gaza Strip.

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Since October 7th, movement in and out of Gaza has been severely restricted due to Hamas fighters breaching Israel’s heavily-guarded perimeter fence, resulting in the loss of 1,200 lives and the capture of 240 hostages.

Israel responded by closing its borders with Gaza and commencing airstrikes on the region, which had a significant impact on aid deliveries that the people of Gaza heavily depended on. According to the health ministry run by Hamas, Israel’s retaliatory campaign has resulted in the deaths of over 17,700 Gazans, including more than 7,000 children. Limited quantities of aid were only able to reach Gaza through the Rafah crossing bordering Egypt, as it remained open. However, Israel has recently agreed to open the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, but solely for the purpose of inspecting aid lorries. Subsequently, these trucks would proceed to Rafah to gain entry into Gaza.

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Mr. Skau expressed his astonishment at the “fear, chaos, and despair” that he and his team from the World Food Programme (WFP) encountered during their recent visit to Gaza. They witnessed confusion at warehouses and distribution points where thousands of desperate and hungry people were present. Supermarkets had bare shelves, and overcrowded shelters faced overflowing bathrooms. Despite some badly-needed aid managing to enter the Gaza Strip due to international pressure and a temporary seven-day ceasefire, the WFP emphasizes the need for a second border crossing to meet the growing demand. Mr. Skau reveals that in certain areas, nine out of ten families spend an entire day and night without any food at all.

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The situation in Khan Younis, located in the southern part of Gaza and surrounded on two fronts by Israeli tanks, is particularly dire. Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi, the head of the plastic surgery and burns unit at Nasser hospital, the only remaining health facility in the city, fought back tears as he spoke to the BBC about the scarcity of food. He shared his helplessness in being unable to fulfill his three-year-old daughter’s simple requests for sweets, fruits, and apples. He stated, “There is not enough food, only rice. Can you believe it? We eat once a day, only once.” Khan Younis has recently faced intense airstrikes, causing the boss of Nasser hospital to express that they have lost control over the overwhelming numbers of dead and injured arriving at the facility.

Israel has claimed that senior Hamas leaders are taking shelter in Khan Younis, potentially within a vast network of underground tunnels. In an effort to neutralize the group’s military capabilities, Israel is engaging in intense combat, conducting operations on a house-to-house basis and even venturing into the tunnels. On Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized the United States for its alleged involvement in war crimes. This criticism came after the US vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Among the 15 Security Council members, 13 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while the United Kingdom abstained from voting and the US was the sole country to oppose it. President Abbas, who leads the Palestinian Authority, held Washington accountable for the loss of innocent Palestinian lives, including children, women, and the elderly, as he accused Israeli occupation forces of being responsible for this bloodshed.

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