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Gaza Is ‘Hanging by a Thread’ as Child Deaths from Malnutrition Soar

Gaza is hanging by a thread. Credit: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

In a statement issued today, the UN’s World Food Program warned that Gaza is “hanging by a thread.” It called for urgent access to reach the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are on the verge of famine, UN News reported this evening. The WFP had to recently pause aid deliveries to north Gaza because of unsafe conditions.

Today, UNICEF issued a report warning of the increase in the “unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza” due to malnutrition. UNICEF is warning that “The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations, Ted Chaiban, referring to a worsening food crisis.

The Global Nutrition Cluster (GNC), an aid partnership led by UNICEF, warns in a new report “Nutrition Vulnerability and Situation Analysis /Gaza,” that 90% of children under the age of 2 and 95 per cent of pregnant and breastfeeding women face severe food poverty, in Gaza eat two or fewer food groups a day, known as “severe food poverty.” They also reported that “at least 90% of children under 5 are affected by one or more infectious disease,” while “70% had diarrhea in the past two weeks.”

In Rafah, in south Gaza, where most humanitarian aid enters the Strip, the acute malnutrition rate is 5%, compared to 15% in northern Gaza. The Israeli military has isolated the north and cut off all aid there for weeks. Before the war, the malnutrition rate across Gaza was less than 1%, according to this report. UN agencies are warning that in North Gaza one in six children under the age of 2 is “severely malnourished.”