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Half of Gaza at ‘Imminent’ Risk of Famine

A leading humanitarian monitoring system warned Monday that half of Gaza’s population is at “imminent” risk of famine.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a food security index partnered with prominent government and aid groups like the United Nations, the European Union, and USAID. On Monday, the IPC issued a special brief analyzing the nutritional situation in Gaza, where the ongoing war between Hamas militants and Israel has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians, internally displaced millions, and created a humanitarian catastrophe.

The report predicts that since December, when the IPC first warned of potentially catastrophic humanitarian consequences in the region, “the conditions necessary to prevent famine have not been met and the latest evidence confirms that Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024.”

The IPC notes that “extremely limited humanitarian access to and within the Gaza Strip continues to impede the safe and equitable delivery of life-saving multi-sector humanitarian assistance critical for Famine prevention and response. This includes severe limitations to the supply of goods as well as basic services.” Much of that blockage has been directed by the Israeli government, which continues to enjoy backing from major governments and pro-Israel groups.

Despite its continued public support for Israel, President Joe Biden’s administration has faced increased pressure to push the longtime American ally towards a ceasefire. The American Prospect reported last week that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the top pro-Israel lobby in America, attempted to spread misinformation to government officials regarding the risk of starvation among Palestinians in Gaza during their annual conference last week.

The Prospect obtained a copy of AIPAC’s talking points for supporters heading to Capitol Hill — and they are extreme, to say the least. The documents instruct supporters to claim that “reports that people are starving in Gaza are false,” and say that “Israel is not blocking the delivery of aid to Gaza.”

At the time the claims were made, the IPC had already issued mountains of data pointing to an unfolding catastrophe in the region, one that — as they point out — is on the verge of near-total collapse.

According to the group’s assessment, the “entire population in the Gaza Strip (2.23 million) is facing high levels of acute food insecurity.” In the next few months, they predict that Northern Gaza will be experiencing famine conditions, with around 70 percent of the population in IPC Phase 5 food insecurity (Catastrophe). In the south, the “governorates of Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis, and the Governorate of Rafah, are classified in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). However, in a worst-case scenario, these governorates face a risk of Famine through July 2024,” the group writes.

The IPC also points out that the situation is not beyond redemption. “It is vital to note that the projected Famine can be prevented or alleviated. All evidence points towards a major acceleration of deaths and malnutrition. Waiting for a retrospective Famine classification before acting is indefensible,” the IPC writes, recommending “an immediate cessation of hostilities and full access is granted to provide food, water, medicines, and protection of civilians as well as to restore and provide health, water, and sanitation services, and energy (electricity, diesel, and other fuel) to the population in the northern governorates.”

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