Gaza descends into ‘full-blown famine’ amid Israeli restrictions on food deliveries to the region, UN official declares

4 May 2024, 06:48 | Updated: 4 May 2024, 07:02

Gaza has descended into a full-blown famine, a top UN official has said
Gaza has descended into a full-blown famine, a top UN official has said. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Gaza is now in a "full-blown" famine amid Israeli restrictions on food deliveries to the region, a top UN official has said.

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American UN World Food Programme director Cindy McCain has described the situation in Gaza as "horror".

In an interview that will air on Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, she said: "There is full-blown famine - in the north, and it's moving its way south."

Ms McCain, the most prominent international official to declare famine in the region, said a ceasefire and a significantly increased flow of aid through land and sea routes were essential to confronting the growing humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, which controls entrance into Gaza, which is home to 2.3 million people.

Read More: Foreign Secretary David Cameron urges Hamas to accept ‘generous’ ceasefire deal with Israel

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Israel has previously claimed that it is beginning to allow more food and humanitarian aid through land crossings.

The panel that serves as the internationally recognised monitor for food crises said in March that northern Gaza was on the brink of famine and likely to experience it in May.

Since March, northern Gaza had not received enough aid to stave off famine, according to US Agency for International Development (USAID) humanitarian official.

The USAID official told The Associated Press that on-the-ground preparations for a new US-led sea route were on track to bring in more food by early or mid-May.

This is expected to include treatment for hundreds of thousands of starving children.

That is when the US military expects to finish building a floating pier to receive the shipments.

The USAID official said that ramping up the delivery of aid on the planned US-backed sea route will be gradual as aid groups test the distribution and security arrangements for relief workers.

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