Conditions in the Gaza Strip are increasingly worrying because half of the population is starving. Photo/Illustration
NEW YORK – A senior official for the UN aid agency warned that half of the Gaza Strip’s population is starving, as fighting continues there.
Deputy Director of the UN World Food Program, Carl Skau, said only a small portion of the needed supplies could enter the Gaza Strip and nine out of 10 people could not eat every day.
“Conditions in Gaza make delivery almost impossible,” said Skau as quoted by the BBC, Sunday (10/12/2023).
Movement in and out of Gaza has been heavily restricted since October 7, when Hamas fighters breached Israel’s heavily fortified perimeter fence – killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage.
In response, Israel closed its border with Gaza and began launching airstrikes on the territory, limiting aid deliveries that Gazans rely heavily on.
Only the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt is open, so limited amounts of aid can reach Gaza. This week Israel agreed to open the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza in the next few days – but only for inspection of aid trucks. The trucks will then head to Rafah to cross into Gaza.
Skau said nothing prepared him for the fear, chaos and hopelessness he and the WFP team encountered during their trip to Gaza this week.
They witnessed “confusion in warehouses, distribution points with thousands of hungry people, supermarkets with empty shelves, and overcrowded shelters with broken bathrooms,” he said.
International pressure and a seven-day temporary ceasefire last month have allowed some much-needed aid to enter the Gaza Strip, but the WFP insists a second border crossing is now needed to meet demand.