DECEMBER 9, 2022
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UN Warns of Looming Famine in Besieged Gaza Strip

UN Warns of Looming Famine in Besieged Gaza Strip

The United Nations has issued a dire warning about the escalating humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip, where inhabitants are on the brink of famine and some are already succumbing to starvation. According to the latest Global Report on Food Crises released on Wednesday, an alarming 281.6 million people worldwide faced dangerous levels of acute hunger last year.

The report, a collaborative effort by FAO, the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and UNICEF, highlighted the desperate conditions in Gaza, which has endured relentless Israeli bombardment and ground assaults since October 7.

Gian Carlo Cirri, director of the WFP's Geneva office, described the grim reality facing Gazans after seven months of siege: "People can't meet even their most basic food needs. They've exhausted all coping mechanisms, resorting to eating animal fodder, begging, and selling their possessions to buy food. Many are destitute, and tragically, some are dying of hunger."

Israel's blockade has severed essential supplies, including fuel, electricity, food, and water, to the more than two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. The regime has also obstructed humanitarian aid deliveries to the impoverished enclave.

Cirri warned of an impending famine, with malnutrition rates soaring among children. "We estimate that 30 percent of children under two are acutely malnourished or wasted, and 70 percent of the population in the north faces catastrophic hunger," he added.

The situation has reached a critical juncture, with the WFP chief indicating that all three famine indicators—food insecurity, malnutrition, and mortality—are likely to be surpassed in the coming six weeks.

Earlier this month, the UN Relief Works and Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) sounded the alarm, describing the unfolding crisis as a "man-made" famine. UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini condemned Israel for blocking aid deliveries and attempting to curtail the agency's operations in Gaza.

Lazzarini revealed that in northern Gaza, infants and young children are already dying from malnutrition and dehydration due to the blockade. UNRWA reported an 80 percent increase in food insecurity across Gaza since December, underscoring the urgent need for immediate intervention to prevent further loss of life.

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