Tue 25 Jun 2024 5:57 pm - Jerusalem Time

The risk of famine is high across Gaza and 96% of the population faces severe food insecurity

An international report warned of the continued high risk of famine across the Gaza Strip, in light of the continuing war and restrictions on humanitarian access.

The report said that about 96% of Gaza's population (2.1 million people) face high levels of acute food insecurity, expecting this situation to continue until September 2024.

The “Integrated Food Security Phase Classification” report stated that the entire Gaza Strip is classified as being in a state of emergency, which is the fourth stage of the classification that precedes famine (the fifth stage).

The report stated that more than 495,000 people (22% of the population) face catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity in the fifth stage, in which families face severe food shortages, starvation, and exhaustion of their ability to cope.

The analysis conducted by the classification in February had predicted the possibility of famine occurring in northern Gaza by the end of May, based on the assumption that the conflict would continue at the same intensity and humanitarian access would continue to decline. The months of March and April witnessed an increase in deliveries of food and nutritional services to the northern governorates, despite some obstacles.

The report stated that this appears to have temporarily eased the situation in northern Gaza. But the World Food Program said that this slight improvement shows the difference that increased humanitarian access can make, as increased food distribution and nutritional services in the north have helped reduce the worst levels of hunger, although the situation is still miserable.

In the southern Gaza governorates, the report said that the situation deteriorated in early May, and more than a million people were displaced after attacks from land and sea throughout the Gaza Strip and their expansion to Deir al-Balah, especially the Nuseirat camp.

The report stated that humanitarian access to the southern governorates, which are home to two million people, has decreased significantly with the closure of the Rafah border crossing and obstacles at the Kerem Shalom crossing. He pointed out that the concentration of the population in areas that largely lack water, sanitation, hygiene, health care and other infrastructure, increases the risk of disease outbreaks, which will have disastrous effects on the nutrition and health status of large segments of the population.

The international report stated that the latest data indicate that more than half of families were forced, in order to buy food, to exchange their clothes for money, while a third of families resorted to collecting waste to sell it. More than half of families reported that they often do not have food, and more than 20% of families spend entire days and nights without eating any food.

More than 330,000 tons of waste have accumulated in or near populated areas throughout Gaza, posing catastrophic environmental and health risks.

According to the United Nations, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is staffed by experts from 19 UN agencies and four donor countries, and tracks hunger, but it can sound the alarm before the potential spread of acute malnutrition to avoid it turning into more serious, life-threatening conditions.


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The risk of famine is high across Gaza and 96% of the population faces severe food insecurity