The UN-backed assessment said a ‘high risk’ of famine persisted

A United Nations-backed assessment says nearly half a million Palestinians across Gaza are still facing “catastrophic levels” of hunger and a “high risk” of famine persists as long as the Israeli war -Hamas continues and humanitarian access is limited.

However, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report said available evidence does not suggest a famine is currently occurring in the northern Palestinian territories.

The previous assessment in March predicted that an earthquake was imminent in the area.

The amount of food and other aid allowed into the North has since increased, and nutrition, water, sanitation and health services have also been increased, the report said.

But the organization warns that food availability in southern and central Gaza has decreased significantly due to the closure of the Rafah border and the displacement of more than a million people from the city of Rafah since early May, when Israel conduct a ground campaign there. .

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said the report “paints a clear picture of ongoing hunger” and shows the critical importance of sustained humanitarian access.

United Nations officials blamed the situation on Israeli military restrictions on aid deliveries, ongoing hostilities and a breakdown of law and order.

Israel insists there is no limit to the amount of aid that can be delivered into and across Gaza and blames United Nations agencies for failing to distribute aid. It also accused Hamas of stealing aid, which the group denies.

The Israeli military launched a campaign to destroy Hamas in response to an unprecedented attack on southern Israel on October 7, which left about 1,200 people dead and 251 others taken hostage.

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, more than 37,650 people have been killed in Gaza since then.

The IPC – a global initiative of UN agencies, aid groups and governments – is the main mechanism the international community uses to conclude whether famine has occurred.

Households are classified as IPC Stage 5 (Disaster) if they are severely food insecure, hungry, and have exhausted coping strategies.

For famine to be officially declared in a particular area, there must be evidence that at least 20% of households are in Stage 5, 30% of children are acutely malnourished, and for every 10,000 people 2 people died, or 4 people died. child deaths out of 10,000 each day, “from outright starvation or from the interaction of malnutrition and disease.”

In March, the IPC classified 677,000 Gazans – or 30% of the 2.2 million population – as being in Phase 5, including 165,000 people trapped in northern Gaza. The agency also predicts that famine is “imminent” in the North by the end of May due to conflict and an almost complete lack of humanitarian access.

Israel rejects that analysisquestioning the transparency, methods and sources of information of the IPC.

The IPC review was published on Tuesday said more than 495,000 Gazans, including 60,000 in the north, are still facing catastrophic hunger.

“Contrary to the assumptions made during the forecast period (March – July 2024), the amount of food and non-food goods allowed into the northern provinces has increased,” it said.

“In addition, the response in the areas of nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health has also been strengthened. In this context, the available evidence does not indicate that famine is currently occurring.”

Although an estimated 20% of households in the North are in Stage 5, the threshold for acute malnutrition and death has not yet been crossed, the report explains.

The World Health Organization said earlier this month that 32 deaths from malnutrition, including 28 children under 5 years old, had been reported by local health officials.

The IPC report warns that there continues to be “a high and prolonged risk of famine across the Gaza Strip,” and that improvements in April and May “do not leave room for complacency.”

WFP said the “slight improvement” in the IPC report showed the difference greater access could make, but stressed that the situation “remains desperate”.

“To truly turn the tide and prevent famine, it is necessary to provide adequate and sustained levels of humanitarian assistance,” it added.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) told reporters in Geneva that on average every day at least 10 children lose one or both legs because of the war.

Philippe Lazzarini said that number does not include children who have lost hands and arms, and that amputations often take place in what he describes as “pretty terrible conditions” and sometimes without surgery. passionate about.

In Gaza, at least 24 people – including the sister of Qatar-based Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh – were reported killed in three Israeli airstrikes in northern Gaza early Tuesday morning.

Health officials told Reuters news agency that 14 people were killed in strikes on two schools used as shelters for displaced people in the central Daraj area of ​​Gaza City and a refugee camp. Shati urban disaster in the north.

The Israeli army said in a statement that the aircraft attacked “two structures being used by Hamas terrorists” in Shati and Daraj.

“Terrorists operating inside school campuses are used by Hamas as a shield for its terrorist activities,” it added, accusing some of them of being involved in the arrests. hostage and participated in the October 7 attack.

Hamas has previously denied using the school for military purposes.

The remaining 10 people are believed to have been killed in an attack on a house in Shati in the early hours of the morning. A neighbor and Palestinian media identified the dead as Zahr, Ismail Haniyeh’s sister, and nine members of her family.

Mr. Haniyeh – who also lost three sons and several grandchildren in a strike in April – said the killing of his relatives would not cause Hamas to change its stance and reaffirmed the group’s demand for a ceasefire agreement and release of hostages.

The Israeli army has so far not commented on this information.

Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières expressed outrage at the “horrifying and cynical” murder of one of its employees. in an attack in Gaza City on Tuesday morning.

Physiotherapist Fadi al-Wadiya was killed along with five other people, including three children, as he cycled to the MSF clinic where he worked, without blaming any party.

The Israeli army later announced that it had killed Fadi al-Wadiya in an airstrike, accusing him of being an “important person.” [Palestinian] Islamic Jihad Terrorist” who developed the group’s missile arm.


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