We are about to witness in Gaza the most intense famine since World War Two

We are about to witness in Gaza the most intense famine since World War Two

Alex de Waal writes:

Gaza is already the most intense starvation catastrophe of recent decades. The death toll from hunger and disease may soon surpass the body count from bombs and bullets.

The Famine Review Committee reported this week that Gaza is facing “imminent famine”.

The Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) system, set up 20 years ago, provides the most authoritative assessments of humanitarian crises. Its figures for Gaza are the worst ever by any metric. It estimates that 677,000 people, or 32% of all Gazans, are in “catastrophic” conditions today and a further 41% are in “emergency” conditions. It expects fully half of Gazans, more than 1 million people, to be in “catastrophe” or “famine” within weeks.

A parallel report from the Famine Early Warning System Network of the US Agency for International Development sounds the same alarm. It is the clearest warning that the network has given at any time in its 40-year history.

A rule of thumb is that “catastrophe” or “famine” conditions mean a daily death rate from from hunger or disease of two people out of 10,000. About half are children under five years old. The arithmetic is simple. For a population of 1 million, that is 200 deaths per day, 6,000 per month.

By way of comparison, the worst famine on the IPC record books struck Somalia in 2011, through a combination of war, drought and a shutoff in aid. At its nadir, 490,000 people were in “catastrophe” conditions with a larger number in “emergency” conditions. An estimated 258,000 people perished over 18 months. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.