Despite Israel’s Increased Aid to Gaza, U.N. Warns of Looming Famine Threat

Israel Delivers More Aid to Gaza, but Threat of Famine Persists, U.N. Says

Amid mounting international pressure, Israel has accelerated the pace of aid delivery to Gaza this month, yet humanitarian organizations warn that the threat of famine persists, particularly in the devastated northern regions. According to the United Nations World Food Program, while the increased levels of aid are encouraging, it is too soon to rule out the risk of famine.

Israel’s Efforts to Combat Famine in Gaza

Over the past week, Israel’s initiatives – which include the establishment of new aid corridors – have been recognized by the Biden administration and international aid officials. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of aid trucks reaching Gaza, particularly in the north, where famine warnings have been persistent.

Arif Husain, the chief economist at the United Nations World Food Program, has stressed that the increased aid must be sustained to avert the crisis. “This cannot just happen for a day or a week — it has to happen every single day for the foreseeable future,” he said, indicating that the primary need was for more food, water, and medicine.

Challenges to Aid Delivery

Aid groups have consistently voiced frustrations over the slow pace of aid reaching the enclave, attributing this to harsh war conditions, stringent inspections, and limitations on crossing points. Israel, on the other hand, has argued that these restrictions are vital to prevent weapons and supplies from falling into the hands of Hamas.

However, under pressure from President Biden, following an Israeli airstrike that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen, Israel announced this month that it would open more aid routes. This was marked by the dispatch of one of the first shipments by sea with food intended for Gaza from Cyprus, according to a United Arab Emirates official and Anera, a relief group.

Rising Aid Delivery: A Ray of Hope?

Aid is now also reaching Gaza through other new avenues, including a partly functioning border crossing into northern Gaza and the Israeli port city of Ashdod. Infrastructure work is ongoing to make the northern crossing permanent and to open another nearby, signaling a potential improvement in the efficiency of aid delivery.

The United Nations recently shared a video online that showed bags of flour stacked in bakery storerooms and Palestinian children cheering for an aid truck. This positive image, however, is slightly tarnished by the realization that the threat of famine still looms large.

The Maritime Route: A Potential Game-Changer?

Defense Department officials announced on Thursday that Army engineers had begun construction of a floating pier off the coast of Gaza. This maritime route, expected to open in the coming weeks, could potentially help deliver as many as two million meals a day, significantly mitigating the food crisis.

Tensions Amidst the Crisis

While aid delivery is increasing, the war continues unabated. This escalation of tensions comes as Israel signals potential plans to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, even as the Israeli government faces renewed calls from families to secure the release of hostages taken captive in an October 7 attack by Hamas.

Discrepancies in Aid Totals: A Cause for Concern

Despite the increase in aid, discrepancies persist between the amounts of aid reported by Israel and the United Nations. While Israel reports a doubling in the number of trucks entering Gaza daily, the United Nations reports a significantly smaller increase. These inconsistencies highlight the complexity of the situation and underline the need for transparent, accurate reporting.

The Future of Gaza: Awaiting More Aid

As the crisis unfolds, the future of Gaza hangs in the balance. While efforts to transport more aid into Gaza have increased, the threat of famine persists. The international community waits with bated breath, hoping that coordinated efforts to increase and streamline aid delivery will avert the looming famine and bring relief to the desperate population of Gaza.