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Famine imminent in north Gaza: World Food Program

Famine is imminent in northern Gaza, said the World Food Program (WFP).

Malnutrition among children is proceeding at a record pace, and one of three children below the age of two is now acutely malnourished or “wasted.”

Some 70 percent of the population in north Gaza is facing catastrophic hunger. Parents are not eating for days at time so that their children can.

“There is nowhere else in the world where so many people face imminent famine. Here in Gaza City we’re at the epicenter of the crisis here in the Gaza Strip. People themselves are desperately seeking every day the aid that they need to survive, and we are simply not getting enough into Gaza City and the north of the Strip,” said Matthew Hollingworth, Country Director in Palestine of the WFP.

WFP is providing desperately needed food to 1.45 million people in Gaza each month. It distributes ready-to-eat food parcels, hot meals, wheat flour and specialized products to stave off malnutrition.

WFP has only managed to send 11 convoys with food to the north since the start of the year. The 11 convoys which managed to reach the north in March brought food for 74,000 people.

Yet daily deliveries are needed to halt famine.

Most food is distributed in Rafah and Deir al Balah, and very little assistance reaches people elsewhere. To support existing systems and the local economy, WFP is also helping bakeries get back on their feet by providing them with wheat flour and other necessary resources to operate.

“We desperately need the conditions to get access every day to be flooding this area with food assistance if we’re going to prevent famine, prevent further death, prevent wasting amongst children, prevent really the desperate situation that is already in place,” said Hollingworth.

Together with partners, WFP has enough food supplies ready to feed all 2.2 million people across Gaza. It said that needs Israel to allow more routes into Gaza, including from the north, and use of Ashdod port.

WFP also said that it needs humanitarian staff and supplies to move freely, and the people of Gaza to access assistance safely.

It warned that as famine closes in, an Israeli land offensive in southern Gaza would make their task even harder.

At least 32,552 Palestinians have been killed and 74,980 injured in Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry said on Thursday.

There have been 62 Palestinians killed and 91 injured in the past 24 hours, the ministry statement added.

(Reuters)

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