April 15, 2024

UN agency raises alarm over ‘looming famine’ in Gaza

The head of the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has warned that there is ‘looming famine’ in Gaza as the war in the enclave continues unabated.

Philippe Lazzarini announced on Monday that humanitarian aid has not reached people in northern Gaza for more than a month.

He said appeals to allow food distribution in Gaza amid the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas have been denied or “have fallen on deaf ears”.

Warning against “looming famine”, the UN official said the situation is becoming a “man-made disaster”.

No fewer than 500,000 people are facing famine while nearly the entire population of Gaza, 2.3 million people, is experiencing acute food shortage, According to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Aljazeera reported that a two-month-old Palestinian boy died of starvation on Sunday.

Aid delivery to Gaza has reduced drastically as Israel imposed “endless checking procedures” for trucks to pass through, UN agencies say.

Also, Israeli protesters have continued to obstruct aid convoys at the Karem Abu Salem entry point – known as Kerem Shalom by Israelis – into southern Gaza, saying the Palestinian people should not be given aid.

Since February 9, the average number of trucks that entered Gaza daily was about 55, compared with 500 that used to enter before the start of the conflict, according to OCHA.

However, Israel denies that it is hindering aid deliveries.

“There is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid that can be sent to the civilian population of Gaza and northern Gaza,” Israel’s coordination office for its activities in Palestine (COGAT) wrote in a post on X.

Meanwhile, Israel is expected to report to the International Court of Justice on Monday on the progress it has made in implementing the order of the UN court to prevent genocide in Gaza, in a case brought by South Africa.

At least 29,782 people have been killed and 70,043 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

The revised death toll in Israel from the October 7 attacks stands at 1,139.

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