We are being starved, world has forgotten us, say Gazans

CAIRO (Reuters): In the north of the Gaza Strip where Palestinians have been hit hardest by hunger, residents say acute shortages of vegetables, fruit and meat means they are surviving on bread alone.

Food that can be found in the market is being sold at exorbitant prices, they said: a kilo of green peppers, which cost about a dollar before the war, was priced at 320 shekels or nearly $90. Traders demanded $70 for just a kilo of onions.

“We are being starved, the world has forgotten about us,” said Um Mohammed, a mother of six in Gaza City.

She has remained there throughout more than eight months of Israeli bombardments. But she and her family have left their home for designated shelters in U.N. schools several times.

“Except for the flour, bread, we have nothing else, we don’t have anything to eat it with, so we eat bread only,” she said.

In late May, the Israeli military lifted a ban on the sale of fresh food to Gaza from Israel and the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials and international aid workers said.

But in social media posts, Gazans accused unscrupulous merchants of exploiting needs by buying goods at regular prices in Israel and the West Bank and selling them at a huge mark-up.

They said traders are taking advantage of a breakdown of policing in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

“There’s no meat or vegetables and if something is available, it is being sold at unbelievable, fictional prices,” Um Mohammed told Reuters via a chat app.

The flow of U.N. aid in the devastated Palestinian territory has been heavily squeezed since the start of Israeli military operations in Rafah in south Gaza, the key gateway into the enclave from Egypt.

Israel is coming under mounting global pressure to ease the crisis as humanitarian agencies warn of looming famine.

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