Gaza Facing Food Crisis, says UN
With a shocking 70% of Gaza residents living "at a 'deep poverty' income level of $1.20...per head per day or less", Gazans are also facing an unprecedented food crisis and a rapid deterioration in public nutrition.
Destitution and food insecurity among Gaza's 1.5 million residents has reached an unprecedentedly critical level, according to unpublished UN findings that they now need "urgent assistance" to avert a "serious food crisis" in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The report revealing that Gaza's population has already passed the internationally-agreed threshold at which it needs concerted measures to prevent a "deterioration in their nutrition" has been drafted on the eve of a donors' conference to discuss Palestinian political and economic prospects in London today.
Showing that Palestinians are having to spend a higher and higher share of their shrinking incomes on food, the findings are that the proportion of Gazan incomes now going on food is 66 per cent – significantly higher than the 61 per cent recorded for Somalia. Seventy per cent of Gazans are at a "deep poverty" income level of $1.20 (60p) per head per day or less.
The joint report from three UN agencies, the World Food Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the refugee agency UNRWA, points out that this proportion is a "key measure of destitution" because the poorest people in the world spend most of their incomes on food while the richest spend relatively little compared with spending on accommodation, healthcare transport and clothes.
The findings show that levels – which are the highest in the Middle East and reaching 73 per cent among the poorest sectors in Gaza – are not far behind in the West Bank at 58 per cent and that Palestinians in general are "extremely vulnerable" to the recent steep rise in world food prices as well as local factors driven by the Israeli-imposed economic blockade of Gaza.