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Entire Gaza population facing hunger crisis, famine risk

LONDON — The entire 2.3 million population of Gaza is facing crisis levels of hunger and the risk of famine is increasing each day, a U.N.-backed body said in a report published on Thursday.

The proportion of households in Gaza affected by high levels of acute food insecurity is the largest ever recorded globally, according to a report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated rapidly since Israel began a major military operation on Oct. 7, with heavy air strikes and a ground offensive laying waste to wide areas of the enclave since then, in response to a shock, deadly rampage into Israel byHamas.

Trucks bringing aid from Egypt have delivered some food, water and medicine, but the United Nations says the quantity of food is just 10% of what is needed for the territory’s inhabitants, most of whom have been displaced.

“There is a risk of famine and it is increasing each day that the current situation of intense hostilities and restricted humanitarian access persists or worsens,” the IPC for Gaza said.

Distribution of aid within Gaza has been hampered by military operations, inspections of aid demanded by Israel, communications blackouts and shortages of fuel.

Some desperate Gazans have jumped onto aid trucks to try to grab scarce supplies of food and other goods. There have been reports of residents eating donkey meat and emaciated patients seeking medical help.

The IPC, produced by a partnership including U.N. agencies and NGOs, sets the global standard for determining the severity of a food crisis using a complex set of technical criteria.

In Sudan, the IPC estimates that war has driven some 37% of the population into Phase 3, or crisis levels of hunger, with 10% of the population facing Phase 4 “emergency” levels.

In South Sudan, the IPC found 46% of the population faced crisis levels of hunger in recent months, while in Afghanistan the estimate was 29%.

The IPC’s most extreme warning is Phase 5, which has two levels, catastrophe and famine.

Famine has only been declared twice in the past 12 years, in parts of southern Somalia in 2011 and in parts of South Sudan in 2017. — Reuters

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