The world needs to stop starvation in Gaza

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Food should not be controversial.

Anera’s staffer Sami Mater reported today that he heard from a friend who’s still in the north of Gaza that his six-year-old son just died from starvation. Sami also reported that only about 50 trucks a day have been coming into Gaza over the past several days. He told his colleagues that warehouse stocks are out completely or very low and much more needs to come into Gaza to stave off starvation. He asked, truly puzzled, “Why isn’t more help coming?!”

The situation in Gaza, especially in the isolated north, continues deteriorating. Aid convoys are encountering permit denials and lengthy delays, leaving residents in desperate situations resorting to extreme measures like grinding animal feed for survival. Access to essential resources such as water, healthcare, and sanitation systems is severely limited, increasing outbreaks of diseases. Gaza’s residents also face compounding crises including the destruction of the food system by Israel, mass evacuations, population upheaval, restricted movement between governorates, and other challenges exacerbating food insecurity and humanitarian needs.

There are four routes into Gaza through Egypt, each with its own complicated steps and procedures.
There are two Israeli inspection points – Nitsana and Kerem Shalom – through which all good going to Gaza must be inspected. The Kerem Shalom point is also a crossing into Gaza. Recently, Israeli protesters have amassed at Kerem Shalom in order to prevent aid from going into Gaza, despite the Israeli Defense Force having designated the area as a restricted military zone.

And, in the tragic circumstances of starvation in Gaza, there’s a compounding issue: many who perish from starvation-related symptoms aren’t accurately documented. Their deaths often get attributed to other physical causes, masking the true toll of starvation. It’s a silent crisis, where deaths from hunger go unnoticed amidst the chaos of conflict. Until we see a surge in deaths with similar symptoms related to starvation, the true extent of this humanitarian catastrophe remains hidden.

In the meantime, horrific stories like Sami’s friend’s son and that of fourteen-year-old Jana Qudeih, who succumbed to extreme hunger after days of fighting for her life in a shelter center near Khan Younis, highlight the dire consequences of the situation. Jana’s family even struggled to find a grave for her amidst ongoing violence.

More aid simply must get into Gaza. Normally, humanitarian aid is allowed into war zones to provide relief to civilians. However, there are so many hurdles to delivering aid in Gaza, and the scope of suffering is so huge, that most needs are going unmet and people are dying because of it. The international community should not accept this situation as status quo.

The crisis of starvation in Gaza demands urgent attention and action from the international community. With hundreds of thousands at risk of famine and many deaths going undocumented, it is imperative that more aid reaches Gaza without delay. Food should not be a controversial issue, and the world must come together to stop starvation in Gaza and ensure the protection and well-being of its people.

Read about Anera’s response in Gaza >>

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