Gaza’s tragic toll: Over 20,000 dead amidst starvation and war

In the shadow of conflict: exploring the dire human cost of war in Gaza.

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In the wake of the Hamas-led attacks and subsequent Israeli siege imposed on October 9th, the situation in Gaza has deteriorated rapidly. Oxfam’s alarming report reveals that only 2% of the usual food supply has reached Gaza since the siege began. This drastic reduction has left a staggering 2.2 million people in urgent need of sustenance. Prior to the conflict, Gaza received food deliveries from 104 trucks daily; now, the flow has slowed to a trickle, exacerbating the crisis.

The limited aid allowed through the Rafah crossing has proven grossly insufficient. Only 30 of the 62 trucks contained food, and even then, not exclusively. With the current pace of aid, the provision is minimal, leaving the majority of Gaza’s population on the brink of starvation. Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Regional Middle East Director, describes the situation as “horrific,” emphasizing the collective punishment faced by millions of civilians.

Clean water, essential for survival, is virtually non-existent in Gaza. The average availability has plummeted to three liters per person per day, far below the UN’s minimum requirement of 15 liters in emergencies. The skyrocketing cost of bottled water has put it out of reach for most families, while the destruction of infrastructure has left sanitation services non-operational.

Airstrikes have not only targeted civilians but also crucial infrastructure. Several bakeries and supermarkets have been destroyed or severely damaged, disrupting local food supplies. Gaza’s only operational wheat mill has ceased functioning due to power outages. The Palestinian Water Authority reports a drastic reduction in water production, exacerbating the crisis.

The ongoing blackout and fuel shortages have significantly impacted food preservation, irrigation, and crop incubation. Thousands of farmers and livestock breeders have suffered immense losses, further crippling Gaza’s ability to sustain itself. The combined effect of the siege and airstrikes has decimated the fishing industry, cutting off a vital source of food and income.

Oxfam is calling for immediate action from the UN Security Council and member states. The organization emphasizes the need for an immediate ceasefire, unrestricted humanitarian access, and the provision of essential supplies to meet the population’s needs. Despite the stark realities, international response remains limited, and the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate rapidly.

Gaza health officials report over 20,000 deaths since the conflict’s outset, with a significant portion being women and children. This toll represents nearly 1% of Gaza’s pre-war population. The numbers reflect not only the direct impact of military actions but also the severe humanitarian crisis that has ensued.

Individual stories of loss, such as Yousef Es-Sakani’s, who lost most of his family in an airstrike, put a human face to the staggering statistics. These personal tragedies underscore the immense human cost of the ongoing conflict.

As international pressure mounts for Israel to change tactics, the U.S. administration, led by President Joe Biden, faces criticism for its continued support of Israel amidst the humanitarian crisis. Oxfam America has pointedly criticized Biden’s role, attributing the rise in hunger and starvation in Gaza to his unwavering support for the Israeli government.

“No one should have to endure such conditions. Immediate action is not just a necessity but a moral obligation,” stated an Oxfam official. “The world must not stand idly by while an entire population faces the threat of famine and the loss of life on such a devastating scale.”

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