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News > Palestine

Gazans Struggle to Survive Amid Lack of Humanitarian Aid

  • Data from the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

    Data from the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. | Photo: X/ @kirkie12_kirk

Published 20 November 2023

Since Oct. 7, Israel declared "a state of war" on Gaza, launching a large-scale military operation on the Palestinian territory.

Abed al-Rahman Bashir, a 42-year-old Palestinian man, has been struggling every day to obtain some food for his displaced family in Khan Younis city in the south of Gaza since the Israeli occupation army began bombing Gaza on October 7.


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"I have to walk a long distance to the public market and buy some food for my kids, but I can merely find vegetables and canned food. There is no wheat flour, fuel gas, or most of the basic supplies for cooking. I even cannot collect enough ingredients needed to cook any kind of our Palestinian dishes," the father of six said.

What makes things worse, he said, is the soaring prices of all the goods in markets, forcing him only to buy the most needed food and supplies in small quantities.

To obtain some wheat flour, Bashir for many times had to wait in a long queue in front of one of the schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the enclave. However, due to the limited resources, the food provided by this UN agency could only support the family for a maximum of two days.

"I'm struggling just to get some food every day," he said, adding sometimes his kids have to fall asleep with hunger.

Bashir expressed his fear that hunger would trouble his family for a long time until sufficient humanitarian aid could enter the Gaza Strip, home to more than 2.3 million people.

The dire condition has also been encountered by Tahani Al-Taweel, who was forced to flee with her 12-member family to a shelter run by the UNRWA.

"We live in tragic circumstances due to the lack of food," the 45-year-old mother of five said, adding that the UNRWA has provided some food aid, but it is barely enough for her children for a maximum of three days and is unable to satisfy their hunger.

"My husband suffers from fractures in his feet due to the bombing that targeted our house and cannot work now. We've lost our only breadwinner who can provide food for my children," she said.

The predicament forced her family to reduce from three meals a day to one meal a day, leading to a lose of lot of weight for her and her children. The danger of a famine is haunting her, since food scarcity in the Gaza Strip has been continuing. "If the food supply stops, we will certainly die of hunger in any case," she said.

Since Oct. 7, Israel declared "a state of war" on Gaza, launching a large-scale military operation on this Palestinian territory. It closed all border crossings with Gaza, cutting off electricity and water supplies to the territory, and preventing humanitarian aid from entering the strip.

After intense negotiations, Israel decided on Oct. 21 to allow some trucks carrying humanitarian aid to reenter Gaza. So far, however, only 10 percent of essential food supplies have entered Gaza each day, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

As a result of the unprecedented food shortage, the World Food Programme (WFP) said there is "a rise in drought and malnutrition cases," warning of a famine in the war-torn impoverished territory. The lack of food is pushing Gazans toward harmful coping mechanisms, such as skipping or reducing meals and using unsafe, unhealthy methods for fire ignition.

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