URGENT - We are delivering aid into Gaza, but much more is needed
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We must increase aid into Gaza to keep children from starving


Children are dying from starvation in Gaza. We’re calling for an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire and a massive increase in humanitarian assistance.

As the risk of avoidable famine in Gaza increases each day, amid reports children are dying from starvation, Plan International calls for an immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire and a massive increase in humanitarian assistance and improved access for relief supplies and humanitarian workers.

Starvation of civilians illegal under International Humanitarian Law

According to the UN, as of yesterday (7 March), at least 20 children in Gaza have died from starvation. In the north of Gaza, one in six infants under the age of two are acutely malnourished. Israel’s restrictions and siege tactics, as well as Israeli military attacks against humanitarian aid, health and relief workers, are preventing the safe, unfettered delivery of aid and the situation demands immediate and concerted global action to prevent further loss of life due to hunger and starvation. Starvation of the civilian population is illegal under International Humanitarian Law.

Children and families reliant on aid for survival

Relatives of those residing in Gaza have told Plan International their loved ones in Gaza are reliant on humanitarian aid for survival. In the words of one Palestinian resident of Jerash refugee camp in Jordan: “They are mostly surviving off bread, however most of the time the bread is mouldy and they must eat around it. The food they do eat is from the aid provided, but it’s never enough”. Others are drinking rainwater and women are forgoing food so that what little they have can go to their children.

All under-5s are at risk of severe malnutrition

Since the UN issued a stark warning in December 2023 that all 335,000 children under the age of five in Gaza are at risk of severe malnutrition, and at high risk of dying from hunger, the situation has deteriorated drastically. Restrictions in vital humanitarian aid are directly contributing to this, as is evident in the UN’s recent observation that “malnutrition rates for children under five in northern Gaza, where access to aid has been limited, were three times higher than those in the south”.

To address this human–made and entirely preventable catastrophe, it is imperative to establish secure and transparent channels for life saving aid delivery through all entry points on the ground while exploring all other options to ensure that food, medical assistance and clean water and sanitation supplies reach those in need. The blockages and arbitrary denials of aid must cease immediately. Additionally, there is an urgent need for a comprehensive strategy to revive local agriculture and food production.

Access for humanitarian aid is essential

Airdrops and naval aid deliveries are helpful. However, road transport remains the most effective way to get the volume of urgently required aid to those who need it. We continue to call for a rapid increase in aid delivered via ground routes and through all options to secure, unimpeded access for humanitarian workers and for civilians to receive the aid. Allowing access for humanitarian aid to reach the civilian population is an obligation under International Humanitarian Law. We also reiterate our call for States to stop sending arms while there is a risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of International Humanitarian Law or human rights law.

For children in Gaza, time is rapidly running out. At least 12,800 Palestinian children have already been killed in five months, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Urgent action is needed now to avert further tragedy and prevent even more loss of life. We also call for the release of all civilian hostages and Palestinian children held as prisoners.