Middle east

Gaza Facing ‘Apocalyptic’ Famine, Says UN

Boys watch smoke billowing during Israeli strikes east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 13, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas

Earlier this month, Cindy McCain, the World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director said that parts of Gaza are experiencing “full-blown famine.”The UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, told the AFP that “apocalyptic” famine is coming to Gaza.“If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it. That famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present,” Griffiths said.“And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult and apocalyptic.”Griffiths claimed that 50 aid trucks can reach the people of North Gaza through the recently reopened Erez crossing, but that fighting in the south and central parts of Gaza, combined with other border closings, means very little aid can reach the Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah where Israel has been bombarding with tanks and warplanes and seized the border crossing with Egypt earlier this month.WorldUS Army Intel Staffer Quits, ‘Haunted’ by Biden’s Gaza Policy14 May, 09:45 GMT“So aid getting through land routes to the south and for Rafah and the people dislodged by Rafah, is almost nil. And we all said that very clearly, that a Rafah operation is a disaster in humanitarian terms, a disaster for the people already displaced to Rafah. This is now their fourth or fifth displacement,” Griffiths said.The floating pier off the Gazan coast constructed by the US opened days ago and some aid can travel through there, but Griffiths said that it cannot make up for land routes.Israel has repeatedly claimed to be doing all it can to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza but aid organizations have repeatedly said they have been hampered by Israeli authorities.For months, Israeli settlers have blocked aid going into Gaza, oftentimes as Israeli police and military forces stand by. Those incidents reached a fevered pitch last week with several violent incidents.WorldWorld Central Kitchen to Resume Work in Gaza as Hunger, Malnutrition Still Stalk Enclave28 April, 23:53 GMTOn Friday, Israelis reportedly attacked a commercial truck drive in Kochav Hashahar, an Israeli West Bank settlement that is considered illegal under international law. The Israelis attacked the driver, injuring him, according to the reports. Three IDF officers who arrived to treat the driver were also attacked and reportedly suffered minor injuries.Last week, a truck was set on fire after Israeli settlers stopped an aid convoy and destroyed the loads of several trucks. Videos on social media depicted Israelis ripping up bags of flour and dancing on the now-empty truck beds.Meanwhile, on Friday, the US State Department released a report on whether Israel was breaking humanitarian law by blocking aid or using US weapons in a way that is against humanitarian law.While the report noted “deep concerns” about Israel’s “actions and inactions” preventing humanitarian aid, it said that there was insufficient evidence to justify cutting off aid to Israel.WorldIsrael Killed or Injured 31 Aid Workers in Gaza, Despite Knowing Their Locations – HRW14 May, 04:28 GMTAs of April, more than 250 aid workers have been killed in Gaza, including seven World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in what appeared to be a coordinated attack by Israel, hitting three identified aid vehicles while the organization was coordinating with Israel, providing their locations to the government, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).“This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” the organization’s founder, Chef José Andrés said after the attack. “Even if we were not in coordination with the [IDF], no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.”

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