Nearly every tenth child in Gaza under the age of five is now acutely malnourished, largely as a result of the Israeli war against Hamas, according to United Nations (UN) data.
Food supplies on which Gaza depends have diminished, and humanitarian workers have reported visible signs of hunger, especially in areas of northern and central Gaza, which have been hit the hardest by Israel’s war against Hamas since October 7th.
Measurements of the arm circumference of thousands of small children and infants have shown that 9.6 percent of them are acutely malnourished, which is about 12 times higher than pre-war levels, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
In northern Gaza, the rate was 16.2 percent, or every sixth child.
According to humanitarian workers, food trucks in recent weeks have regularly been besieged by hungry people before reaching the hospitals they were heading to.
The charitable organization ActionAid states that some residents of Gaza have been eating grass.
“Every person in Gaza is now hungry, and people have only 1.5 to 2 liters of contaminated water per day to meet all their needs,” the statement said.
The humanitarian organization Islamic Relief quoted a staff member in Gaza as saying:
“My children and I haven’t eaten fruits or vegetables for months, and people die when they try to meet the aid trucks arriving from the UN. We try to make bread with dried corn that we used to use as animal feed, because flour is extremely scarce, and we are relatively lucky compared to most people, who have nothing.”
An increase in anemia or iron deficiency has also been reported, which can increase premature births and postpartum bleeding in pregnant women.
Dr. Santosh Kumar, the medical director who returned from Gaza last week, said he and his team have limited themselves to one meal a day in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
“People are starving, people have no dignity. People told me that the dead are luckier,” he stated.
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