Half a million Gazans still facing ‘catastrophic’ hunger: UN

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Half a million Gazans still facing ‘catastrophic’ hunger: UN

Almost half a million people are still experiencing “catastrophic” hunger in Gaza, with famine still a high risk, a United Nations-backed assessment found Tuesday.

The latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) partnership said its March warning of imminent famine in the north of the Palestinian territory had not materialised.

“However, the situation in Gaza remains catastrophic and there is a high and sustained risk of famine across the whole Gaza Strip,” the report said, warning against any complacency.

It said around 495,000 people — around 22 percent of the Gaza population, according to the UN — are still facing “catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity” known as IPC Phase 5.

Another 745,000 people are classified as in a food security emergency.

The UN’s World Food Programme said the new report “paints a stark picture of ongoing hunger”.

“The improvement shows the difference that greater access can make. Increased food deliveries to the north and nutrition services have helped to reduce the very worst levels of hunger, leaving a still desperate situation,” it said.

But it warned that in the south of Gaza, the situation was getting worse.

“Hostilities in Rafah in May displaced more than a million people and severely limited humanitarian access,” it said.

“Meanwhile, the security vacuum has fostered lawlessness and disorder which severely hamper humanitarian operations.

“WFP now fears that southern Gaza could soon see the same catastrophic levels of hunger previously recorded in the northern areas.”

The IPC is an initiative involving over 20 partners, including governments, UN agencies and NGOs.