An entire generation at risk, as new report shows catastrophic hunger and starvation in Gaza

Israel is systematically starving Palestinians in Gaza, Islamic Relief says as a new IPC* report shows that around half a million people are suffering catastrophic levels of hunger and almost everyone in Gaza is facing acute food shortages.  

An entire generation of Palestinian children is at risk, with extreme hunger and malnutrition causing permanent damage such as stunted physical and cognitive development that will affect children for the rest of their lives. The IPC report confirms what Islamic Relief staff and partners in Gaza are seeing every day – hundreds of thousands of people are going entire days and nights without anything to eat at all, with young children and elderly people most vulnerable.

This hunger crisis is entirely man-made, caused by Israel’s ongoing attacks and blockade. Virtually all of Gaza’s own food production has been wiped out and nowhere near enough humanitarian aid is being allowed in as Israel continues to restrict entry of supplies into Gaza and movement of aid convoys within Gaza.  

Israel’s assault on Rafah has fuelled starvation even further, with around 1 million people forced to flee yet again and families bombed while seeking aid and shelter. In the past day more civilians have reportedly been killed while seeking refuge in a school and trying to reach aid trucks.  

The new IPC report shows that a brief improvement in food security in March and April – when there was a small increase in aid allowed to enter and more food in the markets – is now being reversed, with fatal consequences.    

Islamic Relief urges international governments not to wait for an official famine declaration before taking stronger action. Aid agencies have been warning of famine for months, but official famine declarations are extremely rare and usually only come when it is too late. We do not need a famine announcement to know that Palestinians, especially young children, are starving and cannot access sufficient aid.  

International initiatives like the sea pier and air drops have been costly distractions while people starve. The only way to ensure people can access sufficient food is through a ceasefire and full unimpeded humanitarian access. International governments must use all the leverage and pressure they can to ensure that happens immediately.

Since the crisis erupted almost 9 months ago, Islamic Relief and partners have distributed more than 23 million ready-to-eat cooked meals to displaced people throughout Gaza and provided nutritional support to thousands of young children, pregnant women and new mothers, as well as other vital aid. However much more is needed.  

*The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is the foremost hunger monitoring system, providing evidence-based analysis on food insecurity and malnutrition to inform emergency responses around the world.