‘Unprecedented in modern history’: U.S. aid experts warn Gaza likely already experiencing famine

‘Unprecedented in modern history’: U.S. aid experts warn Gaza likely already experiencing famine

HuffPost reports:

A group of U.S. government humanitarian experts on Tuesday privately warned fellow officials that the spread of hunger and malnutrition in Gaza amid the U.S.-backed Israeli offensive is “unprecedented in modern history,” famine is likely already occurring in parts of the Gaza Strip and the pace of hunger-releated deaths will “accelerate in the weeks ahead.”

The striking assessment was shared in a cable drafted by officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development and sent to the White House’s National Security Council, State Department offices and diplomatic posts abroad. It reflects outside aid groups’ reading of the desperate situation in Gaza and shows the Biden administration is aware of the risk that the death toll there will rise dramatically as it continues to support Israel’s operation and resist calls for a permanent end to the war.

“An immediate and substantial flow of food, health, nutrition and [sanitation] assistance; expanded humanitarian access; and safe unimpeded passage for humanitarian workers is paramount to addressing Famine conditions in Gaza,” the officials wrote. “While hostilities remain ongoing, however, humanitarians will face considerable challenges in providing life-saving aid and specialized services to those in need in Gaza.”

The revelation comes amid global uproar over Israel’s attack on aid workers associated with the well-respected World Central Kitchen nonprofit on Monday. The strike prompted several aid groups to end or wind down their operations in the beleaguered Palestinian region. The Tuesday cable noted that “ongoing hostilities… resulted in the deaths of 196 humanitarian workers between October 7, 2023, and March 25, 2024,” without attributing responsibility for the killings.

The dire internal analysis represents a shift from USAID’s last public comment on the matter, on March 18, which called famine “imminent.” [Continue reading…]

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