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Gaza residents grinding animal feed into flour for survival: Report

Residents in the northern region of Gaza are facing acute hunger and water scarcity amidst increasing restrictions on aid convoys. Reports reveal children going without food for days, with families resorting to drastic measures for survival.

Gaza residents grinding animal feed into flour for survival: Report
First Published Feb 10, 2024, 3:46 PM IST

Residents in the isolated northern region of Gaza are reportedly living in dire conditions, with children going without food for days due to increasing restrictions on aid convoys, the BBC reported. The report claimed that some locals had resorted to grinding animal feed into flour for survival. But even these supplies are running low. 

Additionally, people are digging into the ground to access water pipes for drinking and washing. The United Nations has sounded alarm bells, noting a sharp rise in acute malnutrition among young children in the north, surpassing the critical threshold of 15%. Aid missions to the region are being frequently denied access, with the UN's humanitarian coordination agency, Ocha, citing interference from Israeli forces in aid delivery.

Israeli military agency, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) denies any starvation in Gaza, yet reports from locals and aid workers paint a grim picture of dwindling food stocks and limited access to essentials. The World Food Programme (WFP) underscores the urgency, highlighting significant gaps in food assistance deliveries.

Despite efforts to address the crisis, restrictions persist, with the Israeli military sometimes demanding justifications for fuel and imposing reductions on aid volumes. Families, like Duha al-Khalidi's, are facing desperate situations, resorting to lengthy journeys in search of food.

A famine risk assessment by UN agencies indicates a catastrophic lack of food for a sizable portion of the population in northern areas, exacerbated by challenges in accessing real-time data. Meanwhile, reliable water sources are also scarce, forcing residents to resort to unclean water, further endangering their health.

With Gaza's agricultural sector decimated by months of conflict, the ability to replenish food supplies is severely limited, exacerbating an already dire situation for residents grappling with hunger and deprivation. As the crisis deepens, urgent international attention and action are needed to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza's northern regions.

New data released by the United Nations indicates extensive damage to over half of the agricultural land in Deir al-Balah's central region, including the olive press and farmland owned by Bassem Younis Abu Zayed. Abu Zayed described the scene as resembling the aftermath of an earthquake, with destruction extending to nearby buildings and livestock. Despite efforts to restore the mill, the loss of 80-90% of the olives represents not only a setback for this year but also for the coming years.

In the southern border town of Rafah, overcrowding intensifies as over a million people displaced by conflict vie for space alongside the town's 300,000 residents. While Israel's army showcases recent footage of bustling markets and restaurants in Gaza's southern areas, aid agencies and residents report ongoing hunger and a looming public health crisis due to inadequate shelter, sanitation, and medical care.

Aid delivery faces hurdles from various fronts, including fighting, bureaucratic obstacles, and debris. Recently, a food convoy waiting to travel north in Gaza was struck by naval gunfire. Complicating matters further is the desperation among Gaza's populace, which impedes smooth aid distribution, according to Matt Hollingworth.

The resolution of law and order issues is deemed crucial to alleviate the plight of Gaza's residents, who are growing increasingly helpless and losing hope. Many view a potential agreement between Israel and Hamas as the key to increasing aid access to Gaza and securing the release of Israeli hostages.

With Israel conducting airstrikes in Rafah ahead of a widely anticipated ground offensive, pressure mounts on leaders from both sides to alleviate the suffering of Gaza's populace, which includes both their enemies and their own people.

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