Gaza Deaths from Hunger Could Surpass Casualties of Airstrikes in Coming Weeks

December 21, 2023

Just 24 hours after it was announced that more than 20,000 people have reportedly been killed in Gaza, a UN report today indicated that deaths from starvation could surpass those from airstrikes in the weeks to come. Today’s shocking report assesses that every household in Gaza is expected to fail to meet their food needs in the coming weeks - the highest percentage of acute food security ever classified by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) for a given area or country. As many as 1 in 4 households are facing starvation and famine at IPC level 5 - the most extreme, catastrophic, measure of food insecurity.

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

“Today’s figures show more than 500,000 Gazans could be in a famine-like condition by February unless something is done to address the situation immediately. It’s beyond unacceptable that we have reached yet another tipping point in Gaza - this time, death by starvation, to add to the thousands killed by airstrikes."

“The siege tactics applied to Gaza, cutting off food, water, and access to aid are illegal under International Humanitarian Law and must be rescinded immediately along with a sustainable ceasefire. Unless a ceasefire is implemented and upheld with safety guarantees for humanitarian staff and goods, there is no realistic way to get aid to the millions of people who desperately need it."

“All of our staff in Gaza are reporting that basic necessities are impossible to find, and almost no food is available to buy from the markets anymore. Our team members report waiting in line for 15-20 hours a day in Rafah - also subjected to recent airstrikes - desperately seeking basic things to feed their families only to find they have run out. One staff member told us, 'There is no salt, yeast, sugar, flour, fuel, or gas—every element of life has vanished.'"

“Enough is enough. Only a sustainable ceasefire and end to siege tactics can save civilian lives, allowing full and safe access to Gaza for aid workers and goods.”