UN agency laments plight of children in northern Gaza

One in three children under two years of age is acutely malnourished, as the situation reaches unprecedented levels, UNRWA says; UN is also facing ‘overwhelming obstacles’ in delivering aid

Updated - March 22, 2024 05:36 pm IST

Published - March 16, 2024 09:48 pm IST

UNRWA has said that malnutrition among children is rising in Gaza. File

UNRWA has said that malnutrition among children is rising in Gaza. File | Photo Credit: AP

One in three children under the age of two in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished and famine is looming, the main UN agency operating in the Palestinian enclave said on Saturday. “Children’s malnutrition is spreading fast and reaching unprecedented levels in Gaza,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said.

More than five months into Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’s attack on October 7, much of the enclave is in ruins with most of its 2.3 million population displaced and facing a major humanitarian crisis.

Hospitals in Gaza have reported some children dying of malnutrition and dehydration.

The international food insecurity watchdog, the IPC, is expected to report soon on the extent of the hunger crisis in Gaza after saying in December there was a risk of famine in the projection period through May.

For the IPC to declare famine, at least 20% of the population must be suffering extreme food shortages, with one in three children acutely malnourished and two out of every 10,000 people dying daily from starvation or malnutrition and disease.

Western countries have called on Israel to do more to allow in aid, with the UN saying it faced “overwhelming obstacles” including crossing closures, onerous vetting, restrictions on movement and unrest inside Gaza.

Israel says it puts no limit on humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and blames slow aid delivery on incapacity or inefficiency among UN agencies. Air and sea relief deliveries into Gaza have started, but aid agencies say these are no substitute for bringing in supplies by land.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.