Gaza: Children’s lives jeopardised due to rampant malnutrition

It is not just Israeli bombs that are sweeping the war-ridden Gaza Strip, residents are now feeling the wrath of malnutrition too. 

On March 8, the Associated Press (AP) reported that 20 children were pronounced dead at the Al-Shifa and Kawal Adman hospitals – located in the north of the enclave – with the cause of death being malnutrition and dehydration. 

From December 12-16 last year, the Kamal Adwan Hospital was subject to a siege by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as the country claimed that Hamas fighters were hiding in the vicinity of the building. 

The international community, UN and World Health Organisation (WHO) have in recent weeks sounded the alarm at the lack of aid supplies being let into Gaza by Israel. 

Awashed with a food crisis, Gaza residents have resorted to consuming water from the sea, grass and animal feed. 

Reports have found that one in four households are currently enduring famine-like conditions. 

READ: Witnesses claim Israel fired at crowd waiting for aid

AP also recently highlighted the high death toll of premature babies in the Strip’s most southern city Rafah. Doctors at the Emirati Hospital told the news outlet that 16 premature babies had died as a result of malnutrition-related causes over a five-week period. 

UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) child nutrition expert, Anuradha Narayan noted that malnutrition is generally slow to bring death, striking children and the elderly first. Other factors can play a role: underfed mothers have difficulty breastfeeding babies and diarrheal-related diseases, rampant in Gaza due to lack of clean water and sanitation, leave many unable to retain any of the calories they ingest. 

Israel has blamed the concerning Gaza hunger crisis Gaza on UN agencies, claiming they fail to distribute supplies piling up at Gaza crossings.  

In response, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main agency assisting desperate Palestinians, said that Israel restricts some aid deliveries and imposes strict inspections that slow entry into Gaza. 

The death toll in the enclave since October 7 currently stands at 31,000 with 85% of the population being forced into internal displacement.



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