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Famine ‘imminent’ in Gaza

Famine is “imminent” and projected to begin in northern Gaza between mid-March and May, while nearly the entire population of around 2.3 million people in the enclave is facing crisis levels of food insecurity or worse, according to a new analysis by the Famine Review Committee (FRC), an independent group of experts convened by humanitarian agencies. Meanwhile, the UN’s human rights chief said today that Israel’s restrictions on aid to Gaza may amount to the war crime of starvation. The allegation that Israel is deliberately creating conditions of starvation is also central to a genocide case before the International Court of Justice, the UN’s top Court. A previous FRC analysis in December found there was a risk of famine that would increase each day as long as hostilities and restrictions on humanitarian access continued. Since then, Israel and Hamas – the Palestinian political and militant group that governs Gaza – have failed to reach even a temporary ceasefire agreement, and Israel has continued its military campaign and siege of the enclave. Aid agencies and experts say Israeli restrictions at Gaza’s borders and the failure to establish a functioning deconfliction process continue to choke aid delivery. At least 23 children have died of malnutrition and dehydration in recent weeks in northern Gaza, and 25% of children under the age of five in the north are acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF. A small number of aid trucks have reached northern Gaza in recent days, but aid officials have repeatedly said an immediate ceasefire is needed to mount a meaningful humanitarian response. According to Refugees International president Jeremy Konyndyk, the FRC analysis is particularly grim because of how rapidly the situation went from stable to famine, the fact the entire population is affected, and the absence of natural factors contributing to food insecurity. “This famine is purely man-made. Which means the only solutions will be man-made as well,” he wrote on X. For more, read our recent story on the desperation situation in northern Gaza.

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