Blocking Gaza Food Supplies to Have Lifelong Impact on Children – Save the Children

Hunger is everywhere in the besieged Gaza Strip. (Photo:via Eye on Palestine)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Save the Children organization has warned that denying children in Gaza access to food and basic supplies will have lifelong consequences for them, with rising numbers at risk of malnutrition. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the NGO said that since October 7, “an Israeli-imposed siege has left all one million children in Gaza without enough to eat, including about 335,000 children under five now at risk of severe malnutrition or starvation.”

“This is an entirely man-made catastrophe that is causing devastating physical and mental harm to children, with potentially deadly and life-altering consequences, “ said Hannah Stephenson, Global Head of Policy & Advocacy, Health and Nutrition at Save the Children.

She explained that as children in Gaza experience worsening hunger, their bodies become weaker. “They will become acutely malnourished. Their muscles begin to waste away, their vision blurs, their immune systems fail”.

Stephenson added that disease is inevitable, with pneumonia and diarrhea the leading killers of children in this weakened state.

“The children who survive the bombardment but are pushed to starvation will be stunted, experiencing irreversible impacts to their physical and cognitive abilities,” she stressed.

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Food Supplies Quickly Depleted

The statement added that there is a severe shortage of food, particularly in northern Gaza, which has been almost completely cut off from aid.

Organizations providing food assistance have found that families’ food supplies are depleting more quickly than can be replenished through the trickle of aid allowed into Gaza.

Two-thirds of shops in Gaza have reported that essential goods have depleted in recent weeks, including flour, eggs, and dairy, according to the World Food Program. 

 Elizabeth White, a Save the Children director in the occupied Palestinian territory, warned that: “Israeli authorities are denying children in Gaza access to lifesaving food and services. The deprivation of sufficient food, water, and medicine is rendering child survival in Gaza nearly impossible.”

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She said families are being isolated into areas unable to sustain human life.

White added that “they are forced to evacuate to so called ‘safe’ areas in the south of Gaza only for those areas to then be attacked.”

Israeli airstrikes have already killed thousands of children, the effects of starvation on children’s bodies will kill even more, she said.

“The children who survive will likely face lifelong physical and mental health issues, robbing a generation of any chance of a healthy life and future.”

Starvation a Method of Warfare

 Save the Children has previously warned that deliberately depriving the civilian population of food, water and fuel and willfully impeding relief supplies “is inhumane and may amount to starvation as a method of warfare, which inevitably has a deadly impact on children, and violates international humanitarian law.” 

The NGO is calling for “a definitive ceasefire to save and protect lives in Gaza and the immediate end to the weaponization of aid.”

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The aid agency said it “calls on the government of Israel to allow the unfettered flow of aid and entry of commercial goods needed to save children’s lives now and in the future.”

 According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 23,357 Palestinians have been killed, and 59,410 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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