Over a Month Since Aid Arrived to Northern Gaza – UNRWA Sounds Alarm Bells

The scarcity of food and safe water is compromising women’s and children’s nutrition and immunity. (Photo: UNRWA Tw Page)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

UNRWA says famine can still be averted in the Gaza Strip if more food convoys are allowed into the north on a regular basis. 

The UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, has stressed that famine can still be averted in the besieged Gaza Strip if vital aid is allowed in, adding that the last time aid was delivered to the north was more than a month ago.  

“The last time UNRWA was able to deliver food aid to northern Gaza was on 23 January,” Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said on X on Sunday. 

 “Since then, together with other UN agencies, we have warned against a looming famine, appealed for regular humanitarian access, and stated that famine can be averted if more food convoys are allowed into northern Gaza on a regular basis,” Lazzarini added.

He said UNRWA’s calls to send food aid “have been denied & have fallen on deaf ears.”

“This is a man-made disaster,” he emphasized, adding: “The world committed to never let famine happen again.”

“Famine can still be avoided, through genuine political will to grant access & protection to meaningful assistance. The days to come will once again test our common humanity and values.”

Half of Aid Requests Denied

UNRWA earlier said that since the beginning of the year, half of their aid mission requests to the north were denied, despite having “identified deep pockets of starvation and hunger in northern Gaza where people are believed to be on the verge of famine.”

The agency said there were reports that “animal fodder is ground up and cooked to eat.”

UNRWA on Sunday also said on X on that “Reports that a 2-month-old baby died of hunger in Gaza are horrific.”

Access Denied – UNRWA Cannot Deliver Food to Northern Gaza

“High risk malnutrition continues to rise, 1 in 6 children in north #Gaza are severely malnourished,” the agency added.

WFP Suspends Aid

Lazzarini’s statement also comes in the wake of the announcement by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) last week that it would be suspending deliveries of aid to the north “until conditions are in place that allow for safe distributions.” 

In a statement, WFP said the decision “has not been taken lightly, as we know it means the situation there will deteriorate further and more people risk dying of hunger.”

Gaza’s Government Media Office said the decision amounts “to a death sentence for 750,000 people, exacerbating the humanitarian situation,” and demanded the organization “urgently return to work.”

‘Death Sentence’ – UN to Suspend Food Aid Delivery to North Gaza

Acute Malnutrition

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, meanwhile says the scarcity of food and safe water is compromising women’s and children’s nutrition and immunity, resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition.

“Nutrition screenings conducted at shelters and health centers in the north found that 15.6 percent – or 1 in 6 children under 2 years of age – are acutely malnourished,” UNICEF said in a statement.

Of these, almost 3 percent suffer from “severe wasting, the most life-threatening form of malnutrition,” which puts young children at the highest risk of medical complications and death unless they receive urgent treatment. 

“As the data were collected in January, the situation is likely to be even graver today.”  

(Palestine Chronicle)

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