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UN says food systems are collapsing in Gaza, with aid for just 10 per cent

November 16, 2023 at 4:24 pm

A view of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) refugee camp located in Khan Yunis, Gaza where displaced Palestinian families take shelter as Israeli attacks on Gaza continue on November 15, 2023 [Mustafa Hassona – Anadolu Agency]

The World Food Programme (WFP) in Palestine has warned that food systems in the Gaza Strip are collapsing, and that current aid only meets 10 per cent of food needs. All residents of the Strip, the UN body stressed, need humanitarian assistance.

In statements to the UN News Centre on Wednesday evening, WFP Palestine Head of Communication Alia Zaki pointed out that people in the Gaza Strip will be more susceptible to the spread of diseases on a larger scale because their immune system will weaken as they are not eating enough food. “Food systems inside Gaza are collapsing, there is no longer any food left in stores, barely any food left in stores. There is very little, and it is being sold at increasingly high prices.” Bakeries have shut down, she added.

“We have begun distributing WFP date bars that are nutritionally condensed, they are fortified with vitamins and minerals, so that we can try to make sure that people are getting as much caloric intake that they need as possible. Soon, we will also be distributing complementary feeding for pregnant women and for babies to make sure that it is at least providing complementary support for their nutrition.”

Zaki explained that the UN programme relies on canned food, dates and bread to help the rest of the population, who are increasingly at risk of malnutrition.

She also stressed the need to provide fuel, noting that the fuel shortage restricts the programme’s ability to help those in need “because without fuel, the trucks can’t move, the mills can’t grind wheat, the bakeries can’t bake bread and life will come to a standstill.”

Food supplies entering through the Rafah crossing from Egypt at the present time are only 10 per cent of the food needs of the entire population of the Gaza Strip, 2.2 million people, all of whom need food assistance.

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