Monday, June 17, 2024

Oxfam warns famine risk in Gaza increases as Israeli bombardment hampers aid supply

Israel’s relentless bombardment and obstruction of humanitarian efforts are making it nearly impossible for aid agencies to reach starving Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the international aid organization Oxfam has warned.

“By the time a famine is officially declared, it will be too late to prevent widespread hunger and death,” the UK-based charity warned.

“When hunger claims many more lives, nobody will be able to deny the horrifying impact of Israel’s deliberate, illegal, and cruel obstruction of aid,” said Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa Director Sally Abi Khalil.

Oxfam emphasized that Israel is legally obligated to allow the entry of goods necessary to meet Gaza residents’ basic needs and must ensure the continuous supply of all aid.

The charity noted that closed border crossings, ongoing airstrikes, evacuation notices, and a failing Israeli permission process have crippled the movement of humanitarian aid within Gaza.

These factors have created an untenable environment for effective aid operations, it added.

It highlighted that Kerem Shalom is the only crossing open for aid trucks and that delays in Israeli approval for aid collection and transport cause significant holdups and mission cancellations in aid deliveries.

It also criticized the types of aid being delivered, noting that items such as energy drinks, chocolate, and cookies are non-nutritious and sold at inflated prices that many people cannot afford.

The organization urged an immediate and permanent cease-fire, unrestricted access to all ground crossings for humanitarian aid, and the release of all hostages and unlawfully detained Palestinian prisoners.

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