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The WFP director: Full-scale famine in northern Gaza

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The need for food remains desperate in the Gaza Strip. The photo was taken in Rafah in the south on 9 January. Photo: Hatem Ali / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 05/04/2024 21:54:43

Policy: The American is interviewed by the TV channel NBC, which has published an out extract from the statements of “Meet the Press”, which will be broadcast on Sunday.

– There is a famine, a full-scale famine in the north and it is moving south, says McCain.

The WFP director urgently calls for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

– What we are asking for, and what we have been asking for all along, is a ceasefire and the possibility of unhindered access to safe passages into Gaza – ports and border crossings, McCain continued.

McCain emphasizes that her assessment is based on what WFP employees see and experience on the ground.

The UN has not come up with a formal declaration of famine, which entails strict criteria that require a thorough survey of the food and health situation. Only twice in the last 13 years has the UN declared a famine – in Somalia in 2011 and in parts of South Sudan in 2017.

Just over 850,000 other Palestinians in Gaza were then, according to the UN, affected by level four hunger and completely dependent on immediate emergency aid from outside if lives were not to be lost.

Following international pressure, Israel opened the Erez border crossing earlier this week for emergency supplies. But on Wednesday, Israeli settlers blocked the first aid convoy before it could cross into Gaza. When the column entered Gaza, it was requisitioned by Hamas, before the UN regained control of the emergency aid.

Large parts of Gaza have been left in ruins during seven months of war. The war has also destroyed the local production of fruit, vegetables and fish, the WHO points out. An estimated 1.3 million residents have fled to the southern city of Rafah, which Israel is threatening to invade.

Over 34,600 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks, and almost 80,000 have been wounded, the vast majority civilians, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 10,000 are missing in the ruins, according to estimates from the Palestinian Civil Defense.

The UN and others have long warned of famine in Gaza because Israel has refused to let in sufficient emergency aid. In April, USAID stated that there is a famine in the north of the Gaza Strip, where hundreds of thousands of people are believed to be.

Already in mid-March, the UN determined that just over 1.1 million people in the Gaza Strip were affected by hunger at level five on the so-called IPC scale, where five is the most critical level. They involve extreme food shortages and a significant risk of dying.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that there has been an extremely small increase in access to food in the Gaza Strip. But the risk of famine persists in the besieged Palestinian territory of 2.3 million inhabitants.

(© NTB)

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