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People in Gaza suffer unprecedented levels of famine-like conditions: UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Displaced Palestinians walk in a puddle in rainy weather to get food rations at a makeshift tent camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 2, 2024. (AFP photo)

Israel’s deadly campaign in Gaza has brought “unprecedented" levels of “near famine-like conditions” in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Virtually 550,000 people are currently facing catastrophic food insecurity levels, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has said.

FAO Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol said on Monday all the 2.2 million people in Gaza are in the top three hunger categories, from level three, which is considered an emergency, to level five, or catastrophe.

“We are seeing more and more people essentially on the brink of and moving into famine-like conditions every day.”

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) rates hunger levels from one to five.

“At this stage, probably about 25 percent of that 2.2 million are in that top-level IPC five category,” Bechdol said.

International agencies have repeatedly sounded the alarm that Gaza is starving.

UN special rapporteurs say one in four people are starving and nine out of ten families in some areas spend a day and night without food. They say every single person in Gaza is hungry as Israel is destroying Gaza’s food system and using food as a weapon against the Palestinian people.


There is no estimate of how many Palestinians have died directly or indirectly of hunger since Israel launched the war on October 7, 2023. The few remaining hospitals in Gaza typically only record deaths from Israeli attacks.

Israel has killed more than 28,000 people, many of them women and children, since that October day, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. 

The vast majority of the Gaza population has been displaced and the medical system lies in ruins, meaning many deaths go uncounted.


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