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Famine Imminent in Northern Gaza as Hunger, Disease Worsen

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  • for immediate release: March 18, 2024
Famine Imminent in Northern Gaza as Hunger, Disease Worsen


Washington, D.C. – Famine is imminent in northern Gaza, and deaths related to hunger and disease are likely to increase sharply by May 2024, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).

In a Targeted Analysis published Monday, FEWS NET analysts concluded that humanitarian aid deliveries are occurring too slowly, and insecurity is inhibiting aid distribution too severely to prevent Famine (IPC Phase 5) – the worst possible acute food insecurity outcome – in northern Gaza.

"Acute malnutrition levels are rapidly worsening amid severe, sustained hunger, and destruction of water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure," the report states. "This, alongside the lack of malnutrition and medical treatment services, and evidence from past famines, provide confidence in our assessment that a rapid increase in hunger-related mortality will quickly follow and reach the Famine threshold."

FEWS NET’s Famine projection for northern Gaza aligns with recent conclusions from an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis that the Famine Review Committee has validated.

A wide range of data analyzed in FEWS NET’s analysis indicates that hunger-related mortality is already rising in northern Gaza, and deaths are expected to continue due to diarrhea-related dehydration, acute respiratory diseases, neonatal and maternal health complications, and growing acute malnutrition.

Populations in southern and middle Gaza also face acute malnutrition and the prospect of hunger-related deaths amid constrained and challenging aid distributions that are only marginally filling significant food gaps. FEWS NET analysts have indicated a risk of Famine (IPC Phase 5) in Khan Younis if the conflict escalates, further restricting aid distribution and driving additional displacement.

“Humanitarian aid at the scale required to avert Famine in Gaza is not feasible without an immediate ceasefire,” FEWS NET Program Director Kiersten Johnson said. “Urgent actions are required now to allow immediate scale-up of food, water, and sanitation interventions, as well as health services, especially treatment for malnutrition among children and pregnant and lactating mothers. Short of this, the world will bear witness to Famine in Gaza.”


Hannah Button
Famine Early Warning Systems Network

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