Denying food aid to starving families at risk of famine in northern Gaza will send more children to their graves

The decision on 24 March by Israeli authorities to reject United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) food convoys into northern Gaza will accelerate the risk of famine and send already starving children more quickly to their graves, says aid agency Save the Children.

Xavier Joubert, Save the Children Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory, said:

“We heard just last week from the authoritative body on hunger crises – the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification System – that children and families in northern Gaza face the imminent risk of famine, as early as this month. Children are already dying from starvation and disease at the highest pace the world has ever seen, since records began.

“Further restricting already drip-fed aid into northern Gaza is tantamount to tightening the noose. This announcement shows how funding cuts to the UN agency on which Palestinians and we as humanitarian organisations depend have further emboldened the weaponization of aid. This must be overturned with robust and immediate diplomacy from the international community, as is their legal obligation. International action cannot take longer to deliver than the mere days children have. Their lives depend on it.”

According to UN data, the daily average number of aid trucks entering Gaza dropped by more than a third in the weeks following provisional measures from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which ordered the Government of Israel to allow safe, unfettered humanitarian aid access.[1] Any denial of humanitarian assistance is a Grave Violation against children, according to the UN Security Council’s 1999 Resolution on Children in Armed Conflict. It is also tantamount to collective punishment and illegal under international humanitarian law. Any use of starvation as a method of warfare is strictly prohibited as a war crime under international law.

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