Famine risk in Gaza: FAO

Deputy Director-General Maurizio Martina points out the catastrophic damage induced by the conflict across the entire food supply chain

The people of Gaza are experiencing catastrophic levels of conflict-induced food insecurity and a high risk of famine, and that risk is increasing by the day, Maurizio Martina Deputy Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) said at the United Nations Security Council High-Level Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict.

In this context, Martina called for the cessation of hostilities and restoration of humanitarian space throughout the Gaza Strip to deliver multisectoral humanitarian assistance and restore basic services to eliminate the risk of famine. This includes immediately restoring cross-border water pipelines, resuming electricity distribution, and restoring health facilities, water infrastructure, facilities for waste management, food processing and production, financial facilities and telecommunications, among others.

The FAO Deputy Director-General highlighted the need for reopening border crossings, including for commercial traffic. Essential commodities must be allowed to move into and throughout Gaza without interruption or limitation, he underscored.

“All parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law and protect civilians and objects indispensable for their survival. An immediate ceasefire and peace are a prerequisite for food security, and the Right to Food is a basic human right,” Martina said.

According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, the entire population of about 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip is estimated to be in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 and above), the highest percentage of people experiencing such acute food insecurity that the IPC has ever classified for any given area or country.

About 50 per cent of the population is projected to be in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and at least one in four households (more than half a million people) conservatively assessed to now be in Catastrophic or famine-like conditions (IPC Phase 5).

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