World Vision says reports of Gazan children starving to death is ‘of grave concern’

14 Mar 2024 by World Vision
World Vision says reports of Gazan children starving to death is ‘of grave concern’

  • 100% of Gazans faced ‘crisis’ levels of acute food insecurity or worse (IPC 3+) between December 2023 and February 2024
  • 3 out of 4 girls, boys, women, and men are facing starvation (IPC 4+) in the Gaza Strip
  • 1 in 4 households (more than half a million people) are experiencing ‘catastrophic’ (IPC 5) hunger
8 March 2024, London – International aid agency World Vision is deeply concerned by the increasing reports of children dying from starvation in the Gaza Strip even after the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an independent and apolitical mechanism, warned of the increasing risk of famine in December 2023.

Famine has not been declared anywhere in the world since 2017 in South Sudan where more than 1 million children were already acutely malnourished before the declaration was made. However, half of those who died did so before a formal declaration was made, which is why, even without a formal declaration, these warnings must be taken seriously if we are going to be able to save children’s lives in the Gaza Strip. No population is more vulnerable to the devastating immediate and long-term impacts of hunger and malnutrition than children; yet they are not getting the basic nourishment they need to function, much less grow and flourish.

At least 15 children are reported to have died of starvation in Gazan hospitals, but the number is likely to be much higher. World Vision is calling for an immediate mobilisation of the international community to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe.

“Like in many other conflicts, starvation and child deaths are preventable if the right humanitarian help is reaching them on time. These reports show that time is running out and that the immediate delivery of food and other lifesaving humanitarian aid is now a question of life or death for the children who have been caught up in this crisis,” says Eleanor Monbiot, Regional Leader, Middle East Eastern Europe.

Andrew Morley, World Vision International President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Children are being driven to unacceptable levels of food insecurity, malnutrition, and starvation due to conflict, and nowhere in this world is this more evident than in the Gaza Strip. The sheer number of children affected is heartbreaking and catastrophic. Behind every number is an individual story of a child and their family – and their fight for survival.”

The entire region will benefit from an increase of humanitarian aid and a lasting ceasefire. Children have been disproportionately affected and suffer not just from the immediate life-threatening health impacts, but also risk experiencing long-term development impacts from prolonged hunger and malnutrition. This generation of children already face severe physical and mental scars, and the impacts of violence and famine will severely add to children’s challenges today and in the future.

Mr Morley added, “We hope and pray that peace prevails, for the sake of countless children whose lives have been shattered by months of unimaginable pain and suffering. Every child’s life is precious and sacred, and their protection is enshrined in international law. No child should ever experience starvation on such horrendous levels. Children suffering food insecurity of this scale is a tragedy, so many children and their families enduring this hardship is beyond unacceptable.”