Famine is 'imminent' in Gaza, with many facing 'catastrophic' levels of hunger, new report says

Tuesday, March 19, 2024
 – Famine is "imminent" in northern Gaza, as the entire population of the strip experiences high levels of food insecurity amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, according to a newly released report.

The report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative said a famine in the north of the strip may occur between mid-March and the end of May unless an immediate cease-fire occurs so that essential food and supplies can be delivered consistently to Gazans.

"The conditions necessary to prevent famine have not been met and the latest evidence confirms that famine is imminent in the northern governorates," the report said.

The report projects that northern Gaza will be classified as Phase 5, the highest stage of food insecurity equivalent to famine levels of starvation, in the next month and a half.

Additionally, 70% of the remaining population in the north, or about 210,000 Gazans, will experience "catastrophic" levels of hunger, according to the report.

"Continued conflict and the near-complete lack of access to the northern governorates for humanitarian organizations and commercial trucks will likely compound heightened vulnerabilities and extremely limited food availability, access and utilization, as well as access to health care, water and sanitation," according to the report.

Currently, the IPC classifies governorates in the south of Gaza, including Deir al-Balah, Khan Younis and Rafah, in its Phase 4 category, meaning very high levels of malnutrition and only able to mitigate a lack of food through emergency strategies or liquidation of assets.

However, the IPC says that in a worst-case scenario, the three governorates face a risk of famine through July 2024.

The report also found that the entire population of the Gaza Strip, about 2.23 million people, is facing high levels of food insecurity and, in the most likely scenario, an estimated 1.11 million people -- half of the population -- will be experiencing famine levels of hunger by mid-July. This is an increase from the 530,000 people who were predicted to experience this level of food insecurity in a previous IPC analysis, according to the report.

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