Devastating toll of famine on Palestinians

By Syed Ali Hassan
Iran Daily’s correspondent in Pakistan
The Israeli army’s mission of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, intensified since October 7 through aerial attacks, is pushing the region towards famine. The US is providing support to Israel in implementing this genocide project. The UN reports that 2.3m Palestinians are at risk of famine, warning of a looming humanitarian disaster without immediate help.
In Palestinian refugee camps on the Rafah border, visible emaciation among children and women results from food shortages, compounded by diseases due to lack of clean water. Facing Israeli army brutality, starvation, and thirst, they receive just one meal within 24 hours, insufficient for basic nutritional needs.
On February 28, 2024, reports emerged of Israel obstructing organized aid delivery to homeless Palestinians, raising fears of imminent famine. Footage from northern Gaza reveals the Israeli army’s obstruction of food distribution through various means, including violence and blocking relief trucks. Human rights organizations say Israel is using hunger as a weapon, exacerbating the crisis by restricting international food aid.
Special UN envoys warn of an unprecedented famine, with the entire Gaza Strip classified as the third phase of Integrated Food Security, possibly increasing mortality rates by 25% in March. By May 2024, a mortality rate exceeding 50% is feared. The Chief Economist of the World Food Program notes that 80% of the world’s population facing famine is in Gaza. Israeli bombings have depleted food stocks, causing increased prices in Gaza. On January 5, 2024, Martin Griffiths of the United Nations declared Gaza faces the highest level of food insecurity in a century.
Western journalists report people grinding animal feed for flour, and CNN notes families resorting to boiled grass due to water scarcity. The global community and the Muslim world witness the situation as reluctant Israel takes no action. The increasing death toll from famine faces obstacles due to American vetoing of UN peacekeeping agreements three times.
The aid available is vastly insufficient for Palestinians, prompting a UN warning that without improved delivery, a quarter of Gaza’s population may succumb to hunger. A senior doctor informed the Associated Press that in the past five weeks, 16 prematurely born babies died in Emirati hospitals in Rafah due to diseases linked to food shortages. Notably, since October 7, Israel has tightly restricted the entry of food, water, medicines, and other supplies into Gaza, resulting in rapid deaths among pregnant women and children. The international community must take practical steps to avert the humanitarian crisis in Gaza amid the looming famine.
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