In Photos: UN decries famine conditions in Gaza as 'catastrophe, nightmare, hell on earth, and worse'

AFP , Tuesday 21 May 2024

​Israel's military reported ground combat and air strikes on 70 targets in Gaza in 24 hours, while its forces were also engaged in deadly clashes in the other major Palestinian territory, the occupied West Bank.

empty pots
Boys sit with empty pots as displaced Palestinians queue for meals provided by a charity organization in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2024. AFP


The Israeli war on the Gaza Strip has killed at least 35,562 and wounded nearly 80,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children since 7 October, according to the most recent toll by the Palestinian health ministry in the strip.

The Israeli war on the strip has brought a spiralling civilian death toll and levelled vast swathes of Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Israeli blockade on most food, water, and fuel supplies to the strip has created near-famine conditions in the Gaza Strip.

"We are running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza," Edem Wosornu of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told a Security Council meeting on Monday.

"We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, as hell on earth. It is all of these, and worse," she said of conditions in the besieged territory of 2.4 million people.

Wosornu said that "1.1 million people face catastrophic levels of hunger and Gaza remains on the brink of famine" while three-quarters of its people had been forcibly displaced - some up to five times.


Palestinian children, with empty pots, ask for meals, prepared by charitable organizations for Palestinians, who do not have basic food supplies due to the Israeli embargo imposed on the territory, in Rafah.


WFP Food assistance to internally displaced families Palestine, Deir El Balah, Gaza. Photo courtesy of  WFP. ​


The ongoing Israeli ground assault on Rafah, where 1.3 million Palestinians had sought shelter from Israeli bombardment, has exacerbated humanitarian conditions.

The UN says more than 800,000 people have fled Rafah, and Wosornu confirmed that "the once over-crowded camps and emergency shelters in Rafah have now largely emptied".

She said most of the displaced had fled to Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah in camps where "they lack adequate latrines, water points, drainage and shelter".

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