FAO urges immediate access to deliver urgent assistance at scale in Gaza

New data reveals that half of the population or about 1.1 million people are experiencing catastrophic food insecurity

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) raises alarm over the rapidly deteriorating hunger crisis in the Gaza Strip, where famine is projected to occur anytime between now and May 2024 in the northern governorates, according to a new report published today by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) global initiative. The rest of the Gaza Strip is also at risk of future famine in the worst-case scenario if the hostilities do not cease and humanitarian assistance at scale does not reach those most in need.

The new data released indicates that the entire population in the Gaza Strip is facing high levels of acute food insecurity classified in IPC Phases 3 (Crisis), 4 (Emergency) or 5 (Catastrophe). This includes half of the population or about 1.11 million experiencing catastrophic food insecurity (IPC Phase 5). Compared to the IPC’s previous analysis issued in December 2023, acute food insecurity in the Gaza Strip has deepened and widened with 79 per cent and 92 per cent more people sliding into catastrophic levels of hunger in the current (mid-February – mid-March) and the projected period (mid-March – July), respectively.

“This updated IPC analysis validates what we all feared – a deepening and rapid deterioration of the food security situation in Gaza.  Half of the population is facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity,” said Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General. “This reaches the highest ever recorded level, unlike anything we have ever seen before. In December, the previous IPC report signalled that famine was likely. If no steps are taken to cease hostilities and to provide more humanitarian access, famine is imminent. It could already be occurring. Immediate access is needed to facilitate delivery of urgent and critical assistance at scale.”

According to the IPC’s latest data, virtually all households are skipping meals every day and adults are reducing their meals so that children can eat. In the northern governorates, in nearly two-thirds of the households, people went entire days and nights without eating at least 10 times in the last 30 days. Recent data shows that, in the northern governorates, one in three children under the age of two is acutely malnourished.

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