Saturday, April 20, 2024

Growing number of Gaza infants on the verge of death due to lack of food: WHO

The World Health Organization has issued another stark warning about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip as a WHO spokesperson warned a growing number of infants there are on the “brink of death” from acute hunger.

“What doctors and medical staff are telling us is, more and more, they are seeing the effects of starvation; they’re seeing newborn babies simply dying because they (have) too low birth weight,” WHO spokesperson Dr. Margaret Harris said.

While young children and infants are among the least able to cope with chronic hunger, the WHO says there is a rising number of dangerously underweight pregnant women, as well.

“This is entirely man-made, everything we’re seeing medically; this was a territory where the health system functioned well,” Harris continued.

The WHO was aiming to build emergency malnutrition stabilization centers in Gaza, but progress had been hampered by a lack of security. One center had been established in southern Gaza, and the WHO is attempting to establish one in northern Gaza, “but we can’t bring them in at the scale and to the people without the access and the safety. So there is no answer until there’s a ceasefire,” Harris added.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an attack by the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, last October, which killed less than 1,200 people.

More than 31,800 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and almost 74,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

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

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide, and guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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