New Delhi: The head of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), Cindy McCain, has warned that Gaza is on the brink of starvation, as the region is grappling with the consequences of the war between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. The war has been going on for more than 50 days, causing widespread destruction and displacement in Gaza.
In an interview with CBS News, McCain stressed the dire need to increase humanitarian aid in Gaza. He said that starvation could lead to widespread disease and other devastating consequences in the conflict-torn belt. He cited recent UNICEF data, which indicated that acute malnutrition among children in Gaza could increase by about 30 percent. He said, “We are possibly reaching the brink of starvation in this area.”
McCain called for more aid trucks to enter Gaza, pointing out that the challenge of providing adequate aid to children predates the current hostilities. He said that WFP has managed to feed approximately 110,000 people since the recent ceasefire, but much more needs to be done to address the growing humanitarian crisis. He said, “This is a huge destructive event that is happening, and as it happens it will cross many areas. We have to be able to get there. And not only that, we have to ensure that we are able to safely feed the people we need to feed.”
A temporary ceasefire is in place to facilitate a prisoner exchange and aid delivery
McCain’s comments came amid a four-day temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to facilitate a prisoner exchange and aid delivery. The ceasefire was brokered by Egypt and Qatar, with the mediation of the United States and the European Union. The ceasefire aims to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza and to build trust between the parties for a possible long-term truce.
According to the Israeli army, 17 hostages from Hamas captivity in Gaza were released on Sunday night, including 14 Israelis and three foreign citizens. They were the second batch of hostages to be released, following the release of 24 hostages on Friday and 17 more hostages on Saturday. A total of 50 prisoners are expected to be released by Monday, as part of the prisoner swap deal. The hostages were greeted by their families and officials at the border crossing between Israel and Gaza.
Meanwhile, The Times of Israel reported that 200 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have entered the Gaza Strip since the ceasefire began. The aid includes food, water, medicine, fuel, and building materials. For the first time since the beginning of the war, some supplies are reaching the northern areas of the enclave, where the damage is severe. The aid is being coordinated by the UN, the Red Cross, and other international organizations.
The war between Israel and Hamas started on September 27, 2023, after Hamas fired rockets at Israeli cities in response to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. The war has killed more than 2,000 people, mostly Palestinians, and injured more than 10,000 others. It has also destroyed thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure in Gaza, leaving more than half a million people homeless or displaced. The war has also sparked protests and violence in the West Bank, Israel, and other countries, raising fears of a wider regional conflict.