Gaza Strip: Acute Malnutrition Affects More Than 8,000 Children

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the escalation of hostilities significantly hampers access to medical care and essential supplies.

On Thursday, the United Nations (UN) said that more than eight thousand children have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition in Gaza, warning that supplies are not reaching those who need them most.

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A World Health Organization (WCO) assessment released here confirmed the detection of 1,600 children with the most dangerous form of malnutrition, while 32 people, including 28 children under the age of five, died of malnutrition.

For its part, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned of the lack of capacity to care for food insecure children in the enclave, where only two of the three specialized nutritional stabilization centers for severely malnourished children remain open.

Malnourished children are dying before their families’ eyes along with the decline in life-saving treatment, UNICEF said.

❗️Israel inflicts acute malnutrition in 8,000 children under five: WHO.

Up to 3,000 children are at risk of “dying before their families’ eyes” as they are deprived of access to food and treatment in southern Gaza alone. pic.twitter.com/mhoItZqKBV

— Dr. Zain Abbadi (@ZainAbbadi11) June 13, 2024

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the escalation of hostilities significantly hampers access to medical care and essential supplies.

The agency’s humanitarian partners are currently supporting some 280,000 people a week in Gaza with health services, but people are facing shortages of cooking gas and power supplies, hampering the functioning of community kitchens and bakeries.

“Efforts to distribute food remain constrained by active fighting, damaged roads, a limited number of entry points into Gaza, sub-optimal operating hours at crossings and checkpoints, and the limited number of trucks allowed access,” OCHA added.

According to the office, to roll back months of near-famine conditions in Gaza, other critical aid must also reach those in need.

The data is in line with the warning by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, who acknowledged that the inability to provide safe health services, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risks for malnourished children.

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