Photo by Musa Alzanoun

Photo by Musa Alzanoun

By Yousaf K

The continuous Israel-Hamas war has severely restricted food supplies to the vulnerable population of Gaza strip.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) raised concerns over the growing hunger crisis in the seemingly endless war.  Famine is projected to befall the population in its northern region by May 2024.  According to Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), if humanitarian assistance does not reach the exposed population and the hostilities do not cease immediately, the entire Gaza will face imminent famine, endangering the entire population, including women, children and the elderly.

The IPC, in its latest data release, indicates acute food insecurity for half the population, or over 1 million.  Recent data, compared to the prior data analysis issued in December last year, shows food insecurity has grown by 85 per cent in just a few months.  The data further showed that nearly every household have skipped at least one meal to ensure food for the children.  People have gone full days and nights without eating – sometimes as infrequently as 10 times in a whole month.

Worldwide organizations promoting food security for the global population have frequently stressed upon the urgent measures to save the hungry in Gaza.  FAO director Qu Dongyu called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire in areas with intense continued war, noting this will help in easing suffering of civilians, in addition to helping the smooth delivery of foreign assistance.  In a statement during an event organized by the Government of Italy, Qu reiterated the need for instant peace to safeguard food security and people’s right to food as a basic human right.

Meanwhile, United States President Joe Biden, on March 1, announced plans to send supplies and carry out the first ever food drop through the air-space.  The decision was taken a day after the deaths of dozens of Palestinians queuing for food as the humanitarian catastrophe unfolded in the packed coastal territory.  Few other countries, including France, and Jordan, have previously carried out supply drops into Gaza by air.

World Food Program sent a 14-truck food convoy in an effort to provide emergency relief since aid to Gaza ceased on 20 February.  The deliveries, however, were turned back by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) after a strict inspection at Wadi checkpoint in Gaza.  The rejected convoy was subsequently stopped by the large desperate hungry crowd, which looted the trucks containing 200 tons of food.  WFP Deputy Executive Director showed concerns over the necessity for continued support to explore every possible way to fight food famine in the region.

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