‘Famine Is Imminent’ in Northern Gaza, Report Warns

Experts anticipate a steep rise in malnutrition-related deaths in children in Gaza, according to a new report from a global authority on food security and nutrition, which warned of especially dire circumstances for 300,000 people in the northern part of the territory.

“Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024,” said the report released Monday by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative. The group — set up in 2004 by U.N. agencies and international relief groups — has classified a famine only twice before: in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan in 2017.

In the coming months, the report said, as many as 1.1 million people could face the severest level of hunger classified by the group, with “alarmingly high acute malnutrition rates among children under 5, significant excess mortality and an imminent risk of starvation.”

The group said that continued fighting and aid organizations’ lack of access to northern Gaza, the first part of the territory that Israeli forces invaded in October, have worsened the vulnerability of the 300,000 Palestinian civilians who remain there.

Across the Gaza Strip, people are facing severe shortages of food and other basic goods amid Israeli’s bombardment and a near-total blockade.

The other parts of Gaza, including the central and southern areas, also face a risk of famine by July if the worst-case scenarios come to pass, the group said, warning that all of Gaza’s 2.2 million people are “facing high levels of acute food insecurity.”

Last December, the group found that famine could occur within six months in Gaza unless fighting stopped immediately and more humanitarian supplies made it into the territory.“Since then, the conditions necessary to prevent famine have not been met,” the latest report said.

According to the group’s classifications, a famine is classified by three conditions: when at least 20 percent of households have an extreme lack of food; at least 30 percent of children suffer from acute malnutrition; and at least two adults or four children for every 10,000 people die daily from starvation or from disease linked to malnutrition.

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