Saturday, June 22, 2024

90 percent of children in Gaza experiencing ‘severe food poverty’: UNICEF

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned Wednesday of severe child food poverty amid world crises, including in Gaza.

“Five rounds of data collected between December 2023 and April 2024 have consistently found that 9 out of 10 children in the Gaza Strip are experiencing severe food poverty, surviving on two or fewer food groups per day,” UNICEF said in a report.

It noted months of hostilities and restrictions on humanitarian aid have collapsed food and health systems, resulting in “catastrophic consequences” for children and their families in Gaza.

“This is evidence of the horrific impact the conflict and restrictions are having on families’ ability to meet children’s food needs – and the speed at which it places children at risk of life-threatening malnutrition,” it added.

The report also revealed that around 181 million children worldwide under 5 years of age are experiencing severe child food poverty, making them up to 50% more likely to experience wasting, a life-threatening form of malnutrition.

“Children living in severe food poverty are children living on the brink. Right now, that is the reality for millions of young children, and this can have an irreversible negative impact on their survival, growth and brain development,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.

Children who consume just two food groups per day, for example rice and some milk, are up to 50% more likely to experience severe forms of malnutrition, Russell added.

UNICEF also called on all governments and development and humanitarian partners to act to prioritize actions to end child food poverty.

Israel is deliberately blocking and delaying the flow of food and basic supplies into Gaza and using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.

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