Updated April 24th, 2024 at 18:23 IST

Gaza Could Surpass Famine Threshold in 6 Weeks: World Food Programme Official

Warning that Gaza could pass famine thresholds within six weeks, WFP head Gian Caro Cirri called for a drastic increase in assistance to the Strip.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Hamas' government media office has termed the WFP decision as a "death sentence" for the people of northern Gaza. | Image:AP

Geneva: Gaza Strip could pass thresholds of food insecurity and malnutrition within six weeks, World Food Programme Director Gian Caro Cirri warned during the launch of a report by the Global Network Against Food Crises, Reuters reported.

Stating that there was ‘reasonable evidence’ that Gaza would surpass the famine threshold within six weeks, Cirri noted that the conflict taking place in the Strip “makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to reach affected people.”


While asserting that there was a need to scale up assistance to the Strip “massively”, Cirri grimly noted that, under current circumstances, the situation was likely to continue deteriorating. 

“They (the people of Gaza) have been selling off their belongings to buy food. They are most of the time destitute. And clearly, some of them are dying of hunger,” he added. 


The famine threshold and where Gaza stands

According to the World Food Programme's own criteria, a country is described as having passed the threshold of famine if it meets three specific conditions: 

  1. At least 20 per cent of the area's population is facing extreme levels of hunger. 
  2. 30 per cent of the children in that area are ‘wasted’ or too thin for their height.
  3. The mortality rate has doubled from the average, going past two deaths per 100,000 people daily for adults and four deaths per 100,000 for children. 

As for how close the Gaza Strip is to this threshold, the WFP estimate aside, a UN-backed report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification had warned in March that malnutrition and food insecurity levels had likely already exceeded famine levels in the northern part of the Strip and hunger linked-death rates were soon to follow. 


As for the southern part of the Strip, the IPC report said that, under the worst-case scenario, the famine threshold would be passed by July this year. 

Just this week, the US special envoy for humanitarian issues, David Satterfield, was quoted by media sources as saying that the risk of famine in Gaza, particularly its northern half, is “very high.”


Published April 24th, 2024 at 18:20 IST