Starvation fears as food deliveries into north Gaza halted

February 21, 2024
Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip. (File)
Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip. (File)

GAZA — The World Food Program said on Tuesday it had suspended food deliveries to northern Gaza due to the increasing chaos across the enclave, raising fears of famine.

One in six children in the north are "accurately malnourished", according to a study by the UN's children's agency.

Entry of aid trucks into the besieged territory has been more than halved in the past two weeks, UN figures show.

Overwhelmed UN and relief workers said aid deliveries have been crippled by Israel's bombardment and ground offensive and a collapse in security, with desperate Palestinians frequently overwhelming trucks to take food.

Three weeks ago an airstrike hit an aid truck, while other convoys have faced gunfire.

The north, including Gaza City, has been isolated since Israeli troops first invaded in late October. Vast swaths of the territory have been reduced to rubble, but several hundred thousand Palestinians remain largely cut off from aid.

They describe famine-like conditions, in which families limit themselves to one meal a day and often resort to mixing animal and bird fodder with grains to bake bread.

“The situation is beyond your imagination,” said Soad Abu Hussein, a widow and mother of five children sheltering in a school in Jabaliya refugee camp.

Ayman Abu Awad, who lives in Zaytoun, said he eats one meal a day to save whatever he can for his four children.

“People have eaten whatever they find, including animal feed and rotten bread,” he said.

WFP said it was working to resume deliveries as soon as possible. It called for the opening of crossing points for aid directly into northern Gaza from Israel and a better notification system to coordinate with the Israeli military.

It warned of a “precipitous slide into hunger and disease,” saying, “People are already dying from hunger-related causes.” — Euronews

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