Skip to content Skip to footer

Report: Vast Majority of Children Under 5 in Gaza Going Full Days Without Food

Since Israel began its Rafah invasion, the amount of aid entering the region has dropped by two-thirds.

Palestinians, including children, wait in line to receive food distributed by charitable organizations amidst Israeli attacks in Deir Al- Balah, Gaza, on May 28, 2024.

The vast majority of children under the age of 5 in Gaza are regularly forced to go at least one full day without eating as Israel’s manufactured famine has intensified in recent weeks, aid groups have reported.

According to a food survey conducted by humanitarian aid groups in May, 85 percent of children under 5 were deprived of food at least one day over a three day period. Official death counts reported by Gaza’s government do not include deaths by starvation; at least 30 children have been recorded starving to death in Gaza so far.

Israel’s starvation campaign has resulted in the rapid spread of famine across the region, which aid groups are warning is worsening by the day as Israel continues its near-total humanitarian aid blockade. According to an Oxfam report released Monday, the risk of famine in Gaza is higher than ever as Israel’s relentless assault and obstruction of aid has made it “virtually impossible” for groups to carry out an aid response.

The UN has reported that, since Israel began its Rafah invasion, the amount of aid entering the region has dropped by two-thirds from the already famine-inducing levels prior to May.

Since May 6, when Israel seized and closed the main humanitarian aid crossing into Gaza, only about eight trucks of aid have entered on average each day — or about 1 percent of the 500 to 600 trucks that the UN has said need to enter each day in order to meet Palestinians’ needs.

On top of the blockade, Israeli forces recently lifted a ban on commercial food deliveries entering Gaza, meaning that commercial deliveries from Israel and the West Bank are now squeezing out aid trucks attempting to enter border crossings.

The food and other supplies, like tents, entering from commercial trucks are then sold for extremely high prices, putting them out of reach for Palestinians already struggling to keep their families alive after months of price gouging and destruction. The Guardian reports that far more commercial trucks are entering because they can pay more to Israeli security guards to enter than groups operating aid trucks.

Two weeks ago, the UN reported that its food and tent storage warehouses in Gaza are empty because of Israel’s blockade; now, families are reporting having to pay $700 just for a basic tent that they would then have to pitch in cemeteries due to overcrowding.

“By the time a famine is declared, it will be too late. When hunger claims many more lives, nobody will be able to deny the horrifying impact of Israel’s deliberate, illegal and cruel obstruction of aid,” said Sally Abi Khalil, Middle East and North Africa director for Oxfam, in a statement. “Obstructing tonnes of food for a malnourished population while waving through caffeine-laced drinks and chocolate is sickening.”

Over a million people have fled Rafah as Israel carries out its invasion, fleeing to nearby Khan Younis, Al-Mawasi and Deir al-Balah, Oxfam reports. As a result, two-thirds of Gaza’s population, or 1.7 million people, have now been forced into an area that’s less than one-fifth of the area of the Gaza strip — an area that Israeli forces have been bombing anyway, despite declaring it to be a safe zone.

Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign in Gaza is leading to extremely unsanitary and dangerous conditions. In Al-Mawasi, there are only 121 toilets for over 500,000 people, Oxfam says, meaning that there are roughly 4,130 people to each toilet.

Israel is carrying out its blockade and Rafah assault despite the International Court of Justice ordering an end to Israel’s siege of Rafah and an immediate influx of humanitarian aid to Gaza in May in order to stave off the spread of famine and save countless Palestinian lives.

A critical message, before you scroll away

You may not know that Truthout’s journalism is funded overwhelmingly by individual supporters. Readers just like you ensure that unique stories like the one above make it to print – all from an uncompromised, independent perspective.

At this very moment, we’re conducting a fundraiser with a goal to raise $44,000 in the next 7 days. So, if you’ve found value in what you read today, please consider a tax-deductible donation in any size to ensure this work continues. We thank you kindly for your support.