Famine Imminent in Northern Gaza as Extent of Starvation Revealed

March 18, 2024

Over 1 million people are starving across the Gaza Strip as the weaponization of hunger continues 

New IPC acute food security analysis released today warns that famine is imminent in Gaza’s northern governorates, with some famine thresholds already exceeded and half of Gaza’s population – 1.11 million people – facing the most catastrophic level of hunger. There is a risk of famine across the entire Gaza Strip. Evidence indicates a steep rise in child deaths linked to hunger and malnutrition, with one out of every three children under the age of two acutely malnourished in the north. 

Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps, says:

“The new IPC analysis sheds light on the undeniable extent of starvation and deprivation for civilians as a result of more than five months under siege and bombardment. Sadly, this news comes as little surprise as Northern Gaza has been almost entirely cut off from life-sustaining aid and actively deprived of food, clean water, and healthcare. 

“Today’s report lays bare that people across Gaza are suffering from starvation, and are truly desperate as they seek any way possible to feed their families. From the destruction of farms, flour mills, and food processing sites, to ongoing fighting preventing the safe movement of humanitarian actors, to the blocking of aid, the people of Gaza are being starved to death. What’s worse, they have all too often been killed in attacks when seeking out food to keep their children alive. 

“The ongoing denial of humanitarian access constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law, depriving civilians of the most essential relief and the most fundamental human right: the right to life. Despite recent interventions by the International Court of Justice demanding the provision of aid, and initiatives for a maritime corridor and airdrops, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance, including food and water, remains grossly inadequate. 

“We cannot wait for an official famine declaration in Gaza to act when it is abundantly clear that people are and will continue dying from hunger and malnutrition. Today’s report must be a wake-up call for all parties with leverage over Israel to dramatically change course. Gazans cannot wait any longer. The only way to change this deadly trajectory is an immediate and sustained ceasefire, an end to the siege, and the appropriate conditions for significantly increased humanitarian aid over land. Without urgent intervention, there will continue to be untold suffering, unnecessary loss of innocent lives, and a moral stain on our collective global conscience for years to come.”

Mercy Corps has worked in Palestine since 1986 and is distributing essential items to meet urgent needs. Mercy Corps is currently distributing food, shelter, and hygiene kits with local partners in Rafah, Deir al Balah, and Khan Younis.