Children in Gaza Suffer as Aid Convoys Are Denied Entry
Residents in the isolated north of Gaza have reported that children are going without food for days as aid convoys are increasingly denied permits to enter. Some residents have resorted to grinding animal feed into flour to survive, but stocks of those grains are now dwindling, they say.
Increasing Interference in Aid Delivery
Last month, more than half of the aid missions to the north of Gaza were denied access, with increasing interference from Israeli forces in how and where aid is delivered. The UN has warned that acute malnutrition among young children in the north has risen sharply and is now above the critical threshold of 15%. This has left an estimated 300,000 people in northern areas largely cut off from assistance and facing a growing risk of famine. However, a spokesman for the Israeli military agency tasked with coordinating aid access in Gaza denied the existence of starvation in Gaza.
Worsening Food Situation
The BBC spoke to people living in Gaza City and Beit Lahia who revealed the dire circumstances they are facing. Mahmoud Shalabi, a local medical aid worker, explained that people had been grinding grains used for animal feed into flour to survive, but even that is now running out. Tinned food stocks are also disappearing and people are left with only rice to eat. The World Food Programme (WFP) has reported that four out of the last five aid convoys into the north have been stopped by Israeli forces, resulting in a two-week gap between deliveries to Gaza City. Matt Hollingworth, the WFP regional chief, emphasized the serious risk of famine in Gaza if significant volumes of food assistance are not provided regularly.
Water Shortages and Destruction of Agriculture
In addition to the food crisis, residents of northern Gaza are struggling to find reliable water supplies. Some people have resorted to digging down into the earth to tap large underground water pipes. The territory’s agricultural industry has also been severely damaged, leaving Gaza even more reliant on food aid. Figures from the UN indicate that more than half of the agricultural land in the central region of Deir al-Balah has been damaged. The destruction of farmland has caused a significant loss to farmers, such as Bassem Younis Abu Zayed, who described the aftermath as “vast” and believes it will take several years to recover.
Challenges in Aid Delivery
Delivering aid to Gaza is complicated by various factors, including fighting, bureaucracy, and rubble. Aid convoys can be blocked or interrupted, making it difficult to provide assistance to those in need. The desperation of Gaza’s people also adds to the challenges, as it becomes harder to negotiate access through crowds of hungry individuals. Matt Hollingworth expressed concern about the level of helplessness among the people of Gaza and emphasized the need for a resolution to the law and order issue.
Call for a Resolution
As the suffering in Gaza continues, there is increasing pressure on leaders on both sides to find a resolution. A deal between Israel and Hamas is seen as the only way to get more aid into Gaza and address the plight of the people trapped in the region.
Read More of this Story at www.bbc.com – 2024-02-10 06:01:03
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