One out of every ten children in Gaza under the age of five suffers from acute malnutrition, due to the war waged by Israel on the Gaza Strip, according to preliminary data from the United Nations through arm measurements that show levels of wasting among children.
The food supplies on which Gaza depends have shrunk from their pre-war level, and relief workers have reported clear signs of famine, especially in the northern and central areas of the Strip, which are the most affected by the Israeli war on Hamas since October 7.
According to a memorandum issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, measurements of the arm circumferences of thousands of young children and infants showed that 9.6% of them suffered from acute malnutrition, which represents an increase of about 12-fold from pre-war levels.
In northern Gaza, the rate reached 16.2%, or one in six children.
Famine in the north
On Friday, the government media office in Gaza warned of the escalation of “famine” in northern Gaza, holding the United States and the Israeli occupation fully responsible for its dangerous repercussions.
The office indicated that quantities of flour, rice, food, and food had run out, as well as grains and animal feed that citizens in northern Gaza were eating.
The government media office immediately and urgently called for the entry of 1,000 trucks daily into North Gaza Governorate until it recovers from famine.
Aid workers said that in the past few weeks, food trucks have repeatedly been looted by hungry crowds before they can reach the hospitals they were destined for.
The ActionAid charity said some people are resorting to eating grass. She added, “Everyone in Gaza is now suffering from hunger, and people only get one and a half or two liters of non-drinking water daily to meet all their needs.”
The Islamic Relief Organization quoted one of its employees in Gaza as saying, “My children and I have not eaten fruit or vegetables for months, and people are being killed when they try to meet aid trucks coming from the United Nations.”
He added, “We try to make bread from the dried corn that we previously used as animal feed, as it has become rare to find flour… and we are relatively lucky compared to most people, who do not have anything at all.”
The non-profit Project Hope Relief and Development Organization said that about 15% of the pregnant women whose condition it evaluated at its clinic in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza last week were suffering from malnutrition.
It has also reported an increase in cases of anemia or iron deficiency, which can increase the incidence of premature birth and postpartum hemorrhage.
Dr. Santosh Kumar, the organization’s medical director, who returned from Gaza last week, said he and his team had reduced their consumption to one meal a day in solidarity with the people of Gaza.
He added to Reuters, “People are starving and are not treated with dignity… (People) told me that the dead are happy” compared to the condition of the living.