Creating new perspectives since 2009

UN warns of widespread hunger in Gaza amid collapse of food systems and fuel shortage

November 17, 2023 at 4:07 pm

A woman is seen amid tents set up in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) refugee camp located in Khan Yunis, Gaza where displaced Palestinian families take shelter and try to maintain their daily lives under harsh conditions amid the Israeli attacks on Gaza, on November 15, 2023 [Belal Khaled – Anadolu Agency]

The Gaza Strip is suffering a substantial food deficit, leading to widespread hunger, with almost the entire population of the Palestinian enclave in urgent need of food assistance, warned the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

Cindy McCain, the Executive Director of WFP, announced yesterday that food and water supplies in Gaza are “practically non-existent”. She also highlighted that only a fraction of the required aid is reaching the Territory through its borders.

She said, “With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation.”

She added, “There is no way to meet current hunger needs with one operational border crossing. The only hope is opening another, safe passage for humanitarian access to bring life-saving food into Gaza.”

It comes a week after WFP confirmed the closure of the last bakery, operating in collaboration with the Agency, due to fuel shortages. This scarcity of fuel, it said, has brought about a complete standstill in bread production across all 130 bakeries in Gaza and is, therefore, now either scarce or completely unavailable.

WFP Palestine Head of Communication, Alia Zaki, 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.

READ: Over 800,000 Palestinians still in Gaza City, northern areas despite Israeli ground attacks