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WHO says many people in Gaza facing 'famine-like conditions'

June 12, 2024 at 7:02 pm

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Geneva on 27 May, 2024 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions”, Reuters reports.

“A significant proportion of Gaza’s population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions,” said WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food.”

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

“However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilisation centres for severely malnourished patients can operate,” he added.

“Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children.”

READ: South Africa pledges $2.7m in humanitarian aid to Gaza

The war in Gaza began on 7 October when Hamas fighters killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

Israel’s response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan Health Ministry, displaced most of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry, on Wednesday, found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel’s actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since 7 October.

“While the world’s focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services,” he said.

“In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70 per cent capacity.”

READ: Spain Premier: ‘Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe is seriously undermining international law’