UN: ‘No supporting evidence’ of famine in northern Gaza

‘Our results suggest that if famine were to occur in Gaza, it is unlikely to be due to any limitations posed by Israel on the food supply entering the Gaza Strip,’ the 31-page study concluded.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

A UN committee of experts said in a recently released report that there is “no supporting evidence” to conclude that there is a famine in Gaza.

The 18-page report, released by the United Nations Famine Review Committee on June 4, contradicted an analysis by the US-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which reported in May that northern Gaza was “possibly” already amid famine conditions that would continue to the end of July.

The UN committee’s report said it “does not find the FEWS NET analysis plausible given the uncertainty and lack of convergence of the supporting evidence employed in the analysis. Therefore, the FRC is unable to make a determination as to whether or not famine thresholds have been passed during April.”

The UN cited data gaps and questioned FEWS NET’s reliance on “multiple layers of assumptions and inference.”

According to the UN report, “While the use of assumptions and inference is standard practice in [classifying whether a region meets famine thresholds] generally, the limitations of the available body of evidence and the extent of its convergence for northern Gaza in April leads to a very high level of uncertainty regarding the current food security and nutritional status of the population.”

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The Famine Review Committee’s report was released on the same day as an Israeli study which concluded that Hamas is the biggest threat to food security in Gaza.

“Our results suggest that if famine were to occur in Gaza, it is unlikely to be due to any limitations posed by Israel on the food supply entering the Gaza Strip,” the 31-page study concluded.

“Rather, the issues may be related to how food aid is distributed, made accessible, and utilized by the population once it reaches Gaza. Several key factors hinder efforts to increase the amount of aid reaching civilians in the Gaza Strip, which must be addressed in further research,” the study said.

“These include theft, looting, and hoarding of food and other supplies, abetted by Hamas or others, and limit of the capacity of Israel and international organizations operating inside Gaza to ensure access,” the study noted.

The report, which will be peer-reviewed, is based on the findings of researchers from Israel’s Health Ministry, medical centers and universities.

When Hamas slashed food prices in April, Gaza residents told The Press Service of Israel that the problem wasn’t a lack of food but a shortage of money for families to purchase it.

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At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 116 remaining hostages, more than 30 are believed dead.