Friday, April 12, 2024

Famine in Gaza deepening, airdropping aid ‘ineffective’: Report

The famine in Gaza is deepening and airdrops of humanitarian aid are “ineffective,” the Palestinian enclave’s media office has announced.

The office said in a statement on Telegram that “2.4 million people suffer from severe food shortages and famine is deepening further in Gaza and the north.”

It announced the famine “is worsening in the northern and Gaza governorates, where so far 15 children have succumbed to hunger, malnutrition and dehydration” and this “threatens the lives of more than 700,000 Palestinian citizens suffering from extreme hunger”.

The media office pointed out that “dropping aid by air and turning a blind eye to bringing it in through the crossings is an attempt to circumvent the radical solutions to the problem”.

“Aerial aid drops now carry serious consequences for the people, posing a major challenge, as some of them are dropped near the buffer zone (with Israel) or areas controlled by the occupation army or located within the occupied Palestinian territories,” it noted.

It added this “poses a danger of death to citizens attempting to obtain aid.”

“The aid that is dropped by air does not achieve justice at all” and requires people to “run after this aid that does not reach safe places in disgraceful, humiliating and inhuman behavior”.

The office reiterated that it is “holding the US administration, the international community and the Israeli occupation fully responsible for the genocidal war being waged by the occupation against civilians, children and women” and also holds them responsible “for the famine and promoting the starvation policy”.

The US said Saturday that it had carried out its first airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza, with more than 30,000 meals parachuted from military planes.

Days ago, the Egyptian army announced in a statement the participation of Qatar and France in an aerial operation in which Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates took part to provide aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been witnessing an Israeli war since Oct. 7.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed 30,410 people and injured 71,700 others with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

At least 15 children have died in the past few days at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City, and the enclave’s health ministry has said it fears for the lives of six remaining children there.

Responding to the “horrific” recent deaths of Palestinian children due to malnutrition, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced the “deaths are man-made, predictable and entirely preventable”.

“Gaza has become hell on earth. When will the world say ‘enough’?” it warned.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also warned that many more children in Gaza will die of dehydration and malnutrition unless there is direct intervention to provide assistance.

“Now, the child deaths we feared are here and are likely to rapidly increase unless the war ends and obstacles to humanitarian relief are immediately resolved,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF regional director for MENA, in a statement.

“The sense of helplessness and despair among parents and doctors in realising that lifesaving aid, just a few kilometres away, is being kept out of reach, must be as unbearable, but worse still are the anguished cries of those babies slowly perishing under the world’s gaze. The lives of thousands more babies and children depend on urgent action being taken now.”

Secretary General of Amnesty International Agnes Callamard has also stated the deaths of children succumbing to dehydration and malnutrition are the “result of acts by Israeli authorities which engineered famine”.

“They knew the likely outcome of their actions but persisted,” she wrote in a post on X, adding that countries which halted funding to United Nations aid agency UNRWA also “bear responsibility”.

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