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Gaza crisis: Starvation must never be allowed to happen, says UN rights chief

“Starvation must never be a means or result of warfare,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Türk said, responding to an alarming food security report released on Thursday that confirmed repeated warnings of catastrophic hunger levels in the besieged enclave amid ongoing fighting. 

In a tweet, Mr. Türk urged Israel to act immediately to ensure that all those not involved in the clashes between Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas fighters “to facilitate humanitarian food deliveries commensurate with needs”.

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The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report explained that famine could happen within the next six months if the current situation of intense conflict and restricted aid access persists. 

The entire population of Gaza – roughly 2.2 million people – is already living with crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity.

The IPC report stressed that although the threshold of famine has not been crossed, humanitarians are particularly concerned about malnutrition among children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and the elderly.

Ordeal for teenage girls

Highlighting the extent of the humanitarian crisis throughout the enclave, the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, has warned that more than 690,000 women and teenage girls barely have any access to menstrual hygiene products.

“UNRWA distributes sanitary napkins, but like everything else we distribute, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the needs of those in Gaza,” said spokesperson Tamara Alrifai in a tweet.

Meanwhile, UN aid coordination office OCHA reported heavy Israeli bombardments on Thursday from air, land, and sea across most of the Gaza Strip, along with Hamas rocket fire into Israel. 

“Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, in most areas of Gaza, with the exception of Rafah. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel continued,” according to the OCHA situation report.

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