Wed 06 Dec 2023 2:24 pm - Jerusalem Time
Access to food supplies are limited for the residents of Gaza
Every morning, Palestinian Khalil Salman leaves his home in the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip for long hours to buy a bag of flour and basic food supplies for his family members, but he returns with a hidden longing.
The Gaza Strip, which is inhabited by 2.3 million people and is subjected to the bloodiest Israeli war since the seventh of last October, is witnessing its markets and commercial stores being devoid of flour and other materials such as rice, lentils, sugar, salt, and cooking oil.
While moving between shops in Deir al-Balah market, Salman (45 years old) told Xinhua News Agency that the markets are devoid of the basic materials that people live on anywhere.
Salman, who went to neighboring areas in an attempt to buy, adds that residents are facing a major crisis due to the lack of flour, lentils, salt, sugar, and other materials.
While the man appeared angry, he pointed out that providing food and drink is a necessity for the survival of family members, especially children and women.
Al-Salam Mills, the main company specializing in grains and flour in the Gaza Strip, stopped working weeks ago due to the lack of electricity and synthetic fuel needed to operate the machines.
Also, no trucks carrying goods, including basic materials, have entered the Gaza Strip from the crossings controlled by Israel since it declared war on Gaza, which left more than 16,000 dead, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Palestinian Jihan Khattab is queuing in front of a warehouse of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip, hoping to get a bag of flour.
Late last November, UNRWA began distributing flour to refugee families and citizens in the central and southern regions of the Gaza Strip, with the distributed quotas based on the number of individuals.
A statement issued by UNRWA said that a family consisting of one to three people gets a bag of flour weighing 25 kilograms, while a family consisting of four to six people gets two bags, while a family consisting of seven to ten people gets three bags, while a family consisting of seven to ten people gets three bags. A group of 11 people or more will receive four bags of flour.
According to the statement, the distribution takes place through the UN agency’s centers and with identification documents, noting that it has delivered a total of 47,504 families so far.
Jihan Khattab, a mother of five children, while receiving her share, told Xinhua News Agency that the residents of the Gaza Strip are in dire need of flour as it is the backbone of every home.
Jihan, who complains that her house is devoid of any quantities of food, adds that she received flour on time in order to feed her five children who have been without bread for about two weeks.
The 55-year-old Palestinian woman confirms that the markets are completely devoid of flour, and if available, its price reaches 70 US dollars, after it was ten dollars before the Israeli war.
Due to the lack of flour, electricity, and fuel, the automatic bakeries in the Gaza Strip closed their doors, while young men set up stalls in the popular markets and in front of their homes to prepare bread over a wood fire, each of which eight loaves of bread are sold for $1.50 amid demand from the public.
The World Food Program said that distributing aid in Gaza “has become almost impossible and puts the lives of humanitarian workers at risk,” stressing the need for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
The global program warned of the dangers of exacerbating the catastrophic hunger crisis that already threatens to exhaust the civilian population, at a time when the Gaza Strip is witnessing a severe shortage in the entry of humanitarian supplies necessary to meet the enormous needs.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the distribution of limited humanitarian aid has been limited for days to the city of Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip.
In the neighboring Khan Yunis governorate, aid distribution has largely stopped due to the severity of Israeli attacks, while the central governorate has been isolated following restrictions imposed by Israeli forces on movement along main roads.
Access to Gaza City and its north has also been halted since the collapse of the humanitarian truce last Friday between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), which lasted for a week.
Since October 7, Israel has been waging a large-scale war against Hamas in Gaza under the name “Iron Swords.”