Lack of food in Gaza creating “risk of famine”

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More than two months of sustained conflict in Gaza is pushing many civilians into starvation, as most humanitarian groups have struggled to deliver food. These packets of vegetables were organized for distribution in southern Gaza by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, with assistance from Oxfam. PARC/Oxfam

Latest analysis reveals dangerous levels of hunger as humanitarian groups call for ceasefire and access to civilians caught in conflict.

After more than two months of conflict and siege in Gaza, civilians caught in the conflict are struggling to meet nearly every type of basic need – including nutrition.

“Where I'm staying now, we have nothing – no food, no electricity, no water,” one young man in southern Gaza reported to Oxfam. “We've hit a point of complete exhaustion. There's simply nothing to eat.”

Lack of food in Gaza is leading to a “risk of famine, and it is increasing each day that the current situation of intense hostilities and restricted humanitarian access persists or worsens,” according to an analysis released by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) System.

The IPC analysis further states that the entire 2.2 million population of Gaza is facing crisis levels of food insecurity or worse, making it the “highest share of households facing high levels of acute food insecurity that the IPC initiative has ever classified for any given area or country.”

Ammar (not his real name), who was displaced by the conflict in northern Gaza along with his extended family of 12 people, makes tea in his makeshift shelter in southern Gaza. People affected by the conflict in Gaza are suffering critical levels of hunger and are threatened by famine. Alef Multimedia Company/Oxfam

“Anyone paying attention cannot be surprised by these figures after more than two months of complete siege, denial of humanitarian aid, and destruction of residential neighborhoods, bakeries, mills, farms, and other infrastructure essential for food and water production,” said Oxfam America President and CEO Abby Maxman in a statement. “Today’s shocking figures describing the high levels of starvation in Gaza are a direct, damning, and predictable consequence of Israel’s policy choices – and President Biden’s unconditional support and diplomatic approach.”

Struggle to find and distribute food

Despite the tremendous barriers to delivering aid in Gaza, Oxfam is helping several organizations that are sourcing and distributing food to people displaced by the conflict in southern Gaza. With assistance from Oxfam, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee (PARC) delivered more than 4,000 packages of locally sourced vegetables and fruit.

The Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine, in collaboration with Oxfam, has distributed 3,000 packages of vegetable to displaced families in the southern Gaza Strip. ESDC

Oxfam also supported the Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine in its work to deliver vegetables to 3,000 displaced families in southern Gaza.

Advocating for a ceasefire

Since the escalation of hostilities starting on early October 2023, Oxfam has been calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, full humanitarian access, and the safe return of hostages. In November, Oxfam joined with Amnesty International USA, Avaaz, Demand Progress, Friends Committee on National Legislation, MoveOn, and others to gather more than 1 million signatures on a petition urging President Biden and other heads of state and the U.N. to bring about a sustained ceasefire between Palestinian armed groups and the government of Israel.

In December, these groups and hundreds of others participated in a global day of action. Representatives of several gathered in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., to spell out their demand in lights: CEASEFIRE NOW.

Oxfam stated in October that its unacceptable to use starvation as a weapon of war. The new info from IPC released today is confirming these fears of impending hunger were well founded.

“The Biden administration must use all of its influence to achieve an immediate ceasefire to stop the bloodshed, allow for the safe return of hostages to Israel, and allow aid and commercial goods in, so we can save lives now,” Oxfam’s President Abby Maxman concluded in the statement released on December 21st. “The U.S. cannot continue to stand by and allow Palestinians to be starved to death.”

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