UN chief warns against danger of famine in northern Gaza

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says a new report warning that famine is now imminent in northern Gaza is an “appalling indictment” of the situation on the ground.

The new report from a cluster of international organizations and charities known as the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification initiative, or IPC, outlined a dire situation with up to half the population of Gaza — 1.1 million people — facing catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation between now and July. The most immediately affected areas are in the northern regions, which Israeli forces cut off from the enclave’s southern half and only a trickle of aid has been able to enter, the Washington Post reported.

Antonio Guterres says the IPC report that found famine is imminent in northern Gaza is an “appalling indictment” of conditions on the ground.

“This is an entirely man-made disaster, and the report makes clear that it can be halted,” the secretary-general told reporters at UN headquarters in New York, according to Al Jazeera. 

The UN chief also called on Israel to ensure access to humanitarian aid throughout Gaza.

Meanwhile, the organisaton’s Global Humanitarian Director Unni Krishnan said the IPC’s analysis in December warned that famine could be prevented if a cessation of hostilities occurred in the Gaza conflict and increased humanitarian aid entered the enclave, but that did not happen.

“This horrific situation was entirely avoidable, and it’s not too late to take action to prevent more children from dying. We fully agree with the IPC warning: Waiting for a confirmation that famine is occurring or has actually occurred to take radical measures is indefensible,” Krishnan said.

He added that his organisation “more urgently than ever before” calls for an “immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire and a massive increase in humanitarian assistance”.

“Israeli restrictions on aid, siege tactics, and Israeli military attacks against civilians, humanitarian aid, health and relief workers must cease immediately. The starvation of the civilian population is illegal under international humanitarian law”.

News ID 197274

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