New York City (Agencies): A senior official from the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) issued a stark warning on Thursday, declaring that almost the entire population of Gaza is at risk of “sliding into hunger hell” unless fuel deliveries resume promptly and there is a swift increase in food supplies.
The UN reported that 2.2 million Palestinians in the territory now require food aid for survival. Abeer Etefa, the WFP’s senior regional communications officer, emphasized the urgent need for action, stating that with winter approaching and inadequate shelter conditions, people in Gaza are facing the immediate possibility of starvation.
Etefa highlighted the collapse of food supply chains in Gaza, characterizing it as a “catastrophic turning point” in an already dire situation. She noted the challenges faced by Palestinians in obtaining essential food supplies, leading to cases of dehydration and malnutrition increasing daily. Limited access to one meal a day, mostly consisting of canned food, has become the norm for many, she added.
The disruption of roads due to war damage and a severe shortage of fuel resulting from the Israeli blockade make it difficult for aid trucks to reach those in need. Gaza’s existing food systems are in disarray, with food production almost halted, markets collapsed, and essential facilities like bakeries closing due to fuel shortages.
Etefa revealed that only a fraction of the needed food supplies are reaching Gaza, and the situation is exacerbated by inflated prices and limited stock in open shops. She called for increased food truck deliveries, the opening of additional border crossings, safe routes for humanitarian workers, and the resumption of fuel deliveries to bakeries.
Juliette Touma of the Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East highlighted the dire conditions in Gaza, emphasizing the need for a ceasefire and the immediate delivery of fuel without conditions to sustain humanitarian operations. The absence of fuel has led to a communications blackout in Gaza, further complicating aid efforts.
Touma pleaded for urgent action, stating that a ceasefire is long overdue to prevent further suffering and to save what is left of humanity in Gaza. She stressed the necessity of lifting the siege on Gaza and delivering fuel to ensure essential services and humanitarian assistance reach the 2 million people in need.