UN warns of famine disaster in Gaza More than 8,000 children under five treated for acute malnutrition

The World Health Organization revealed on Wednesday that more than 8,000 children under the age of five have been treated in the Gaza Strip for acute malnutrition, and 28 have died.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained at a press conference in Geneva that a significant proportion of the population in this Palestinian territory, which is subject to an intense campaign of retaliation after the bloody attack on October 7 against Israel, is now facing a catastrophic level of food shortage and conditions close to famine.

“Despite reports of increased food deliveries, there is currently no evidence that those most in need are receiving food in sufficient quantity and quality,” he stressed.

Faced with this situation, WHO and its partners have tried to strengthen nutrition services in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Tedros explained.

“More than 8,000 children under the age of five have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition,” he noted.

Severe acute malnutrition is frequently associated with medical complications and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children.

However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can currently operate, the WHO chief explained.

“Our inability to safely provide health services, coupled with a lack of drinking water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of child malnutrition,” he said.

“There have already been 32 deaths attributed to malnutrition, including 28 among children under five,” he specified.

The war erupted after Hamas’ October 7 attack that killed 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. In response, the Israeli army launched a devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip, resulting in more than 37,000 deaths, mostly civilians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory.

Dr. Tedros also emphasized the growing health crisis in the occupied West Bank.

Since October 7, WHO has recorded 480 attacks on health care services in the West Bank, resulting in 16 deaths and 95 injuries in this Palestinian territory.

He also explained that the development of “illegal settlements” is making it more difficult for the Palestinian population to access health services.

In both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “the only solution is peace,” Dr. Tedros stated. “The best remedy is peace.”

About محمد الفاسي