A quarter of Gaza’s people one step away from famine: UN

Says one in six children under age 2 in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters): At least 576,000 people in the Gaza Strip are one step away from famine, a senior U.N. aid official told the Security Council.

It warned that widespread famine could be “almost inevitable” without action.

“Very little will be possible while hostilities continue and while there is a risk that they will spread into the overcrowded areas in the south of Gaza. We therefore reiterate our call for a ceasefire,” said Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 

One in six children under age 2 in northern Gaza suffers from acute malnutrition and wasting and practically all the 2.3 million people in the Palestinian enclave rely on “woefully inadequate” food aid to survive, he told the Security Council.

Rajasingham said the U.N. and aid groups face “overwhelming obstacles just to get a bare minimum of supplies into Gaza.” These include crossing closures, restrictions on movement and communication, onerous vetting procedures, unrest, damaged roads and unexploded ordnance, he said.

Israel is committed to improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza, said Israel’s deputy U.N. Ambassador Jonathan Miller, adding that the limitations on the quantity and pace of aid are dependent on the capacity of the U.N. and other agencies.

“Israel has been clear in its policies. There is absolutely no limit, and I repeat, there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid that can be sent to the civilian population of Gaza,” Miller told the Security Council.

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