The population of Gazawith only one 10 percent of food needs entering the Strip since the beginning of the conflict, “faces the immediate possibility of starvation”The United Nations World Food Program warned today.
“Food and water supplies are virtually non-existent and only a fraction of what is needed is arriving across borders. With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and a lack of clean water, civilians face the immediate possibility of starvation,” said WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.
Since the outbreak of the conflict with Hamas on October 7, after an attack by the Islamist group that left 1,200 dead in IsraelIsraeli bombings have resulted in more than 11,500 dead in Gaza and the destruction of a large part of infrastructure, homes or residential buildings.
Likewise, around 1.5 million people are displaced, most of them in the south of the Strip, and Israel has imposed an almost total blockade on access to food, water, gasoline or supplies such as medicine, causing an extreme humanitarian crisis in Loop, especially in its hospitals, many of them not functioning.
“There is no way to meet current hunger needs with a single operational border crossing. The only hope is to open another safe passage for humanitarian access to bring life-saving food to Loop“McCain said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the WFP confirmed the closure of the last bakery it operated in partnership with the agency due to a lack of fuel, the shortage of which has caused “a devastating paralysis of bread production in Gaza’s 130 bakeries” and “bread, a staple food for Gaza’s population, is scarce or non-existent.”
Fuel is scarce
The fuel shortage is also paralyzing humanitarian distribution and operations, including the delivery of food assistance, the WFP explains, revealing that “even when trucks from Egypt arrived and unloaded supplies in Loop on Tuesday, they were unable to reach civilians in shelters due to a lack of fuel for distribution vehicles.”
“Without access to fuel, our ability to provide bread or transport food to those in need has been severely compromised, essentially bringing life to a standstill in Gaza. People are going hungry,” said Samer Abdeljaber, WFP representative for Palestine.
Of the one thousand 129 trucks who have entered Loop Since the opening of the Rafah border crossing on October 21, only 447 were transporting food, according to the UN agency, which warned that “the volume remains regrettably insufficient: the food that has entered Gaza only reaches 7 percent of the minimum daily caloric needs of the population”.
“The food infrastructure of Loop it no longer works; only 25 percent of WFP-contracted stores remain open and others have run out of essential foodstuffs. Local markets have been completely closed,” the note explains.
The situation, with small quantities of food “at alarmingly inflated prices” and of little use without the ability to cook, is forcing people to survive on one meal a day: “for the lucky ones, that includes canned food, although some people have resorted to eating raw onions and eggplants.
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“The collapse of food supply chains is a catastrophic turning point in an already desperate situation, in which the population has been stripped of its basic needs,” Abdeljaber explained.