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Level of hunger in Gaza Strip grows catastrophically - UN

Level of hunger in Gaza Strip grows catastrophically - UN The UN reports a catastrophic increase in hunger levels in the Gaza Strip (photo: Getty Images)

In northern Gaza, over 1.1 million people are experiencing conditions similar to famine. According to the UN, famine is imminent and could begin as early as May, spreading throughout the enclave by July. Malnutrition and food insecurity have surpassed famine levels, and mortality rates are expected to rise soon, according to the IPC.

"The people here have already been fasting for months," said Dr Amjad Eleiwa, the deputy director of the emergency department at al-Shifa hospital, Gaza City. "They scour the city looking for food to survive, but they cannot find any."

The IPC report noted that the entire population of the Gaza Strip (2.23 million people) is experiencing significant food shortages. From March to mid-July, amid escalating conflict conditions and a possible ground offensive in Rafah, it is expected that half of the region's population (1.11 million people) will be in critical food insecurity.

It is noted that southern areas of Gaza will also face the risk of famine in the coming months, in the worst-case scenario. According to the IPC, Israel's advance into the southern city of Rafah will deepen the catastrophic level of famine throughout the Gaza Strip.

The IPC report was published after Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA – the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said he was denied entry to Gaza, where he was supposed to work on improving humanitarian aid. He stated that the Israeli authorities did not allow him to enter Gaza on Monday.

Israel-Hamas war

The situation in Gaza has been tense since Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, 2023, leading to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launching a ground military operation in the Gaza Strip.

By February 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel's complete victory in Gaza is close at hand and rejected Hamas's proposal for a ceasefire.

Additionally, he announced that the IDF was prepared to begin a ground invasion of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, March 12, a Hamas representative stated that the group was accepting a modified version of the US proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas representatives intended to travel to Cairo in the coming days to discuss final details and implement the agreement.

However, on March 13, the Israel Defense Forces struck a food distribution center in the eastern part of Rafah. One person was killed, and 22 others were injured. The IDF reported the elimination of a Hamas commander.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also commented on the high cost of Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza. He emphasized that the world cannot stand by and watch as Palestinians face starvation in the enclave.