World Food Programme stops deliveries to northern Gaza

World Food Programme stops deliveries to northern Gaza By Fathimath Nasli - February 21, 2024
World Food Programme stops deliveries to northern Gaza

WFP has suspended food deliveries to northern Gaza

The World Food Programme has temporarily halted the delivery of "life-saving" food to northern Gaza, citing that aid convoys have faced  "complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order".

The World Food Programme (WFP) has reluctantly suspended food deliveries to northern Gaza due to the challenging conditions faced by its crews, including encountering crowds, gunfire, and looting. The United Nations had been warning of a potential famine in the northern region since December.

The WFP views these recent developments as evidence of a significant decline into hunger and disease. The Israeli military's evacuation order in October affected 1.1 million Palestinian civilians in areas north of Wadi Gaza, including densely populated Gaza City. While most residents complied with the evacuation, a significant number chose to stay or were unable to flee.

The UN agency Unrwa reported last month that at least 300,000 people remaining in northern Gaza relied on its assistance for survival. Aid deliveries to the area have been limited and contingent on security clearances from the Israeli military.

Despite the WFP's intentions to initiate a week-long delivery this weekend, the mission was hindered by challenging circumstances, including hungry crowds attempting to board the convoy, gunfire upon entering Gaza City, and incidents of looting and violence against a driver. The WFP expressed witnessing unprecedented levels of desperation in the Gaza Strip over the past two days.

The situation in Gaza is dire, with food and safe water in short supply, leading to a surge in acute malnutrition, particularly affecting women and children. The World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF jointly reported that the situation is particularly extreme in the north of Gaza, where more than 15% of children under two years old are acutely malnourished.

The WFP is committed to finding responsible ways to resume deliveries promptly and calls for a substantial expansion of aid to northern Gaza, requiring increased food volumes through multiple routes and the opening of crossing points between Israel and northern Gaza.

The WFP also emphasizes the need for a functioning humanitarian notification system, a stable communication network, and enhanced security for its staff and partners. The UN human rights office is closely monitoring reports of violence by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the West Bank.

Seven independent UN experts expressed concern about credible allegations, including extrajudicial killings, sexual assault, and threats of rape. Israel's mission to the UN in Geneva rejected these claims, and the UN human rights office reiterated the call for Israel to comply fully with provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice and ensure accountability for its military and security forces.

The ongoing conflict, initiated by an attack by Hamas gunmen on southern Israel on October 7, has resulted in a significant loss of life and a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Source: BBC

By Fathimath Nasli - February 21, 2024

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