As Israeli forces battle Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, hunger is also on the rise. Well over 100,000 people have been displaced by the fighting. Many Palestinians are seeking shelter in schools. But no place is safe from the violence or hunger afflicting Gaza.
The United Nations reports that farmers, fishermen and bakeries throughout Gaza have suffered damage to their operations. This will increase hardship and food shortages going forward.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today it has reached over 100,000 war victims with emergency rations. Working with the UN Relief and Works Agency in Palestine (UNRWA), these food distributions have taken place in the schools-turned-shelters. But the UN food agency is also running out of supplies. At least US $30 million is needed for WFP to feed Gaza for the rest of this year.
If the conflict persists, emergency food needs will only increase. WFP Country Director Pablo Recalde says, “The conflict in Gaza has affected a large number of people and the food needs rise every day. Most internally displaced families fled to UN schools used as shelters, while others found refuge with relatives or in government schools.”
Even before the latest round of fighting began, WFP and UNRWA fed about two-thirds of the population in Gaza. The never-ending cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine is clearly accompanied by hunger and poverty.
WFP and its partner agencies are struggling to bring relief to the war victims. Conflict and hunger in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have placed a great strain on humanitarian operations. There is also the famine threat from wars in Africa that has required massive resources to feed millions. We are experiencing the most refugees globally since World War II. Funding for humanitarian operations needs to increase to keep pace with the many emergencies.
UNRWA commissioner Pierre Krahenbuhl pleads, “What is happening in the Gaza Strip, the relentless violence, loss of life and mass displacement, can only be described as shocking. No people, under any circumstances, should be made to endure it. The reality being created before our eyes is unsustainable, for the Palestinians themselves and for the region as a whole. We cannot, and will not, abandon the people of Gaza and I call on the international community to come to their aid at this time of great need.”