UN warns of growing risks of starvation in Gaza, urging end to conflict

UN warns of growing risks of starvation in Gaza, urging end to conflict

Geneva, Mar 1: The United Nations (UN) agencies and officials on Thursday warned of growing risks of starvation, desperation and social disorder in war-torn Gaza.

They also condemned the killing of aid-seeking Palestinian civilians and urged an end to the conflict.

The spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General issued a statement on Gaza on Thursday, saying that the UN chief is appalled by the tragic human toll of the conflict in Gaza.

“The Secretary-General condemns the incident today in northern Gaza in which more than 100 people were reportedly killed or injured while seeking life-saving aid. The desperate civilians in Gaza need urgent help, including those in the besieged north where the United Nations has not been able to deliver aid in more than a week,” the statement said.

The Israeli army fired at a crowd of people waiting for humanitarian aid near the Gaza city Thursday, killing at least 104 people.

On the same day, the Hamas-run health ministry said that more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel began its offensive against Hamas in October last year.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Thursday warned of an impending famine in Gaza, citing local medical authorities in Gaza as saying that six infants have died of malnutrition and dehydration.

“The risk of death from starvation in Gaza is reportedly growing, disproportionately affecting children and pregnant women, and is exacerbated by inadequate water, sanitation and health services, the severing of power and fuel supplies, and the decimation of food production and agriculture,” OCHA said in its latest update report.

According to the latest report by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) issued on Thursday, as of Feb. 7, the entire 2.2 million population in Gaza are facing high levels of acute food insecurity, over 50 percent of which are at an emergency level, and at least 1 in 4 faces catastrophic conditions.

FAO said that the food supply chain in Gaza has been severely disrupted, with 97 percent of ground water reportedly being unfit for human consumption.

Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said Thursday in a statement that “Life is draining out of Gaza at terrifying speed.”

Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said at the ongoing 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council that he had no words to capture the horrors in Gaza as the total number of people killed in Gaza has exceeded 30,000.

“The war in Gaza must end,” he said at an interactive dialogue meeting on the human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, adding that the Israeli leaders must accept the right of Palestinians to live in an independent state and all Palestinian factions must accept the right of Israel to exist in peace and security. UNI

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