Entire Gaza population facing hunger crisis, famine risk: UN-backed report

File photo: Palestinian children carry pots as they queue to receive food cooked by a charity kitchen, amid shortages in food supplies, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip December 14, 2023.

Reuters :
The entire 2.3 million population of the Gaza Strip is facing crisis levels of hunger and the risk of famine is increasing each day as the Israel-Hamas war grinds on, a UN-backed body said in a report published on Thursday.
That makes the proportion of households in the Palestinian enclave that are in hunger crisis, or suffering from high levels of acute food insecurity, the largest ever recorded globally, the report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) said.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated rapidly since Israel began a major military operation on Oct. 7, with heavy air strikes and a ground offensive laying waste to wide areas of the enclave since then, in response to a shock, deadly rampage into Israel by militants of Gaza’s ruling Hamas group.
Trucks bringing aid from Egypt have delivered some food, water and medicine, but the United Nations says the quantity of food is just 10% of what is needed for the territory’s inhabitants, most of whom have been displaced.
“There is a risk of famine and it is increasing each day that the current situation of intense hostilities and restricted humanitarian access persists or worsens,” the IPC report said.
Distribution of aid within Gaza has been hampered by military operations, inspections of aid demanded by Israel, communications blackouts and shortages of fuel.
Some desperate Gazans have jumped onto aid trucks to try to grab scarce supplies of food and other goods. There have been reports of residents eating donkey meat and emaciated patients seeking medical help.
“This report sort of confirms our worst fears,” said Arif Husain, chief economist and director of research at the UN World Food Programme, calling the crisis “unprecedented”.
“I’ve been doing this for the last 20 plus years. I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve been to Yemen, to Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, northeast Nigeria. But I’ve never seen something this bad happening this quickly,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The IPC, produced by a partnership including UN agencies and NGOs, sets the global standard for determining the severity of a food crisis using a complex set of technical criteria.