Ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas are dangerously pushing the Gaza Strip towards famine.  The UN-backed Global Hunger Monitoring System indicates that the entire population of Gaza is at an “imminent risk of famine,” with over half a million people living in “catastrophic conditions.”

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths expressed concern about the worsening situation, stating, “We have been warning for weeks that, with such deprivation and destruction, each day that goes by will only bring more hunger, disease, and despair to the people of Gaza.”

From November 24 to December 7, 2023, an estimated more than 90 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population, faced significant levels of acute food insecurity, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

Unfortunately, the situation could worsen. The IPC estimates that between December 8 and February 7, the entire population will fall into IPC Phase 3 or above (Crisis or worse). In other words, this classification signifies the highest proportion of people facing severe levels of acute food insecurity ever recorded by the IPC initiative for any particular region or country. It underscores the unprecedented scale of the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip during this period.

Approximately 1.9 million people in Gaza are displaced, making up the majority of the 2.4 million population. Their homes have been destroyed, forcing them into crowded shelters where they struggle to find necessities such as food, fuel, water, and medical supplies. The damage caused by bombardment extends to essential services like healthcare, exacerbating the crisis.

Despite hostilities being a primary factor in acute food insecurity, Israeli blockades on aid worsen the hunger crisis. Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of “using the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip, which is a war crime.”

This is Beirut and AFP