Gaza teeters on the brink of mass starvation — a global issue
  • opinion Written by Jacob Batinga (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • interpress service

Recent weeks have seen an increased flow of aid into Gaza, but a trickle of humanitarian aid, combined with a lack of commerce and public services, has led to widespread hunger and deterioration of shelter, sanitation and hygiene conditions. It’s simply not enough to deal with it. This situation is fatal.

A new report from the Integrated Tiering System, a public body that collects and analyzes food security data, found that: It will occur in northern Gaza by May at the latest.. Dozens of children have already died from starvation and malnutrition, often exacerbated by disease, and two of the three criteria for declaring famine have already been met.

Official declarations are a lagging indicator, so there is a good chance that famine already exists in areas of northern Gaza. We cannot wait for a famine to be declared to prevent unnecessary and widespread deaths of civilians.

The threat of starvation is greatest in the north, but malnutrition is widespread across Gaza. IPC’s March report found that almost everyone in Gaza faces “high levels of severe food insecurity”, with 95% of the population in Tier 3 or higher food insecurity. did. In the month since the report was released, he said, things have gotten even worse.

In addition to limited food availability, it is impossible to find or purchase nutritious and diverse meals across Gaza. The few fruits and vegetables that are still available are out of reach for most people due to their scarcity and extremely high prices. It is difficult or impossible to find specialized nutritional products and centers to treat malnourished children.

Despite overwhelming evidence of extreme hunger, the Israeli government’s obstruction of humanitarian access continues. But denial of humanitarian access is not the only problem. While increasing the amount of food flowing into Gaza is a welcome step, the current situation makes it impossible to implement an adequate response to this catastrophe.

Hunger and its effects are exacerbated not only by food shortages, but also by Israel’s near-total destruction of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. More than 200 days of continuous shelling has destroyed Gaza’s medical infrastructure, water and sanitation services, including Oxfam-supported projects, and emergency response support, leaving the population even more vulnerable to deadly diseases.

The Israeli government has not restored the flow of electricity and has drastically reduced fuel imports, without which wells, water treatment plants, bakeries, hospitals, private businesses and homes are unable to operate. The collapse of this vital service and infrastructure means that the calculation of food trucks entering Gaza only shows part of the need.

Addressing extreme hunger requires more than just increased caloric intake. Acute malnutrition requires immediate medical intervention, especially in children. This kind of medical intervention is simply not possible when bombs keep falling and basic goods are destroyed.

Oxfam’s colleagues and partner organizations in Gaza are at constant risk of shelling. Almost all Gaza personnel have been displaced multiple times, many living with their families in tents or makeshift shelters. They struggle to find food for themselves and their families, regularly skipping meals for several days so their children can eat.

Their lives are always in danger. Gaza, where more than 200 people have been killed since October, is the deadliest place in the world for aid workers. Even under these unimaginable circumstances, Oxfam and our partners are bravely distributing what they can in the form of food, clean water, materials to provide safer sanitation, hygiene products and more. . However, the humanitarian response needed to stop the threat of famine cannot even begin in these circumstances.

Despite Israeli airstrikes starving children and routinely killing aid workers, the Biden administration Double arms and aid to Israel’s military operations in Gaza. The recently proposed relocation includes some of the most dangerous weapons, such as the MK-84 2,000-pound bomb, which can destroy entire neighborhoods and cause the highest number of casualties in Gaza. was involved in some of the attacks.

In order to maintain its policy of unconditional military aid to Israel, the administration has implemented an absurd and deadly policy of “see no evil, hear no evil” and has refused to stop or even condition arms transfers to Israel. are doing. The United States must halt arms sales to Israel and recognize its contribution to the rising death toll in the Gaza Strip. I can’t wait.

Oxfam is calling for a permanent ceasefire, the return of all hostages, the release of illegally detained Palestinian prisoners of war, and calls for countries to immediately stop supplying weapons to Israel. and Palestinian armed forcesand for full access to humanitarian aid.

The global response to Gaza includes providing adequate and nutritious food for all, fully restoring hospitals and medical services, water and sanitation infrastructure, and allowing all reconstruction materials to cross borders. must be included.

Without a ceasefire, each day brings us closer to an explosion of death and suffering in Gaza. We must act now.

Jacob Batinga He is an Oxfam America Humanitarian Policy Fellow.

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© Inter Press Service (2024) — All rights reservedSource: Interpress Service

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