For Many Families in Gaza, Threat of Dying from Hunger is Real – UNICEF

All children under five in Gaza are at risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death. (Photo: via Eye on Palestine)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

All children under five in the Gaza Strip—335,000—are at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death as the risk of famine conditions continues to increase – UNICEF

Acute food insecurity puts all children under five in the Gaza Strip at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday.

“Yesterday, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) warned the world of the very high risk of famine in the Gaza Strip, increasing every day if the situation persists,” UNICEF wrote in a statement. 

“Specifically, the IPC report said at least 1 in 4 households in the Gaza Strip, or more than half a million people, are facing catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity, the highest level of warning,” it added.

“These entirely manmade, foreseeable, and preventable catastrophic conditions mean that children and families in the Gaza Strip are now facing violence from the air, and deprivation from the ground—with potentially the worst yet to come.”

UNICEF noted that the IPC report “said that almost 1.2 million people are experiencing emergency levels of acute food insecurity and acknowledged that famine thresholds for acute food insecurity have already been exceeded”.

This means, according to UNICEF, that “for many families in Gaza, the threat of dying from hunger is already real.”

“These findings imply that all children under five in the Gaza Strip—335,000—are at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death as the risk of famine conditions continues to increase,” the statement added.

“This unacceptable risk comes at a time when the Gaza Strip’s food and health systems are facing complete collapse. More than 80 percent of young children are experiencing severe food poverty, and more than two-thirds of hospitals are no longer functioning because of the lack of fuel, water, and vital medical supplies or because they sustained catastrophic damage in attacks,” it noted.

Moreover, UNICEF pointed out that said 155,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are malnourished, as well as for over 135,000 children under two, “given their specific nutrition needs, which are compounded by stress and trauma.”

 “Yesterday’s warning of famine in the coming weeks and months can still be averted. But we must act now,” UNICEF noted, explaining that what is needed in Gaza is “an immediate and long-lasting humanitarian ceasefire so that humanitarian actors can support the strengthening and restoring of essential services”.

“We need the restoration of critical infrastructure, including hospitals, so young children, pregnant women and injured patients can safely access life-saving treatment and care.”

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 20,050 Palestinians have been killed, and 53,320 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.


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