The UN’s World Food Program said Thursday that civilians in Gaza faced starvation because food and water had become “practically non-existent.”
“With winter fast approaching, unsafe and overcrowded shelters, and the lack of clean water, civilians are facing the immediate possibility of starvation,” the executive director of the Rome-based WFP, Cindy McCain, said in a statement.
The agency, which has been warning of increasing hunger for weeks in Gaza, said that bread was now “scarce or non-existent” and that it was impossible to “meet current hunger needs with one operational border crossing.”
It said the only hope would be to open a second safe passage to bring food into Gaza.
WFP said a lack of fuel was also impeding the delivery of food, with trucks that arrived from Egypt on Tuesday unable to reach civilians because of insufficient fuel.
The amount of food entering Gaza remains “woefully inadequate,” the agency warned, saying it was enough only to meet seven percent of minimum daily caloric needs.
Shortages of food, water, fuel and other goods have been worsening since Israel launched a military offensive and imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip in response to Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel by Hamas that controls the narrow coastal enclave.
Hamas fighters killed 1,200 people on Oct. 7 and abducted 240 as hostages, according to Israel’s tally. The Israeli assault has killed more than 11,000 people, according to health officials in Gaza, and caused a humanitarian catastrophe, according to aid groups and the United Nations.