WHO: Gaza Population Facing Severe Hunger, Famine-Like Conditions

The WHO chief says 480 attacks on healthcare in the West Bank have been documented since October 7, resulting in 16 deaths and 95 injuries.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has stated that the WHO welcomed the UN Security Council resolution adopted Monday for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Speaking from the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, in a media briefing concerning global health issues, Ghebreyesus urged “all parties take steps to implement the resolution immediately, and bring a permanent end to the suffering of millions of people.”

The WHO chief also welcomed the “Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza” conference, held in Jordan, to increase aid to the Strip.

Ghebreyesus explained that a significant portion of Gaza now faces “catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions. Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food.”

The chief added that the WHO and partners have ramped up nutrition services. 

More than 8,000 children under the age of five have been identified and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 with severe acute malnutrition. 

Due to instability and an absence of access, only two stabilization centers for critically malnourished patients are operational, he noted.

28 children under 5 dead from malnutrition in Gaza

“Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increase the risks for malnourished children,” he added, citing that there have been 32 deaths from malnutrition, including 28 affecting children under the age of 5.

480 attacks against healthcare in the West Bank

Shifting the focus to the West Bank, Ghebreyesus explained that there have also been attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement restrictions to healthcare services.

He reported that since the war on Gaza began, 508 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, with 124 of them being children, in addition to over 5,000 injured, 800 of whom are children.

Since October 7, there have been 480 attacks against healthcare in the West Bank, resulting in 16 deaths and 95 injuries, according to WHO.

Hospitals are running at roughly 70% capacity and in most West Bank regions, clinics are only open twice a week.

In addition, Ghebreyesus explained that “illegal settlements have expanded in the occupied West Bank, impacting the population’s access to health services.”

The WHO has “pre-positioned supplies” at critical centers in the West Bank, including the eastern part of al-Quds, and provided trauma treatment training for first responders in vulnerable neighborhoods.

The chief asserted that the WHO was supporting the Ministry of Health by providing crucial medicine and technical assistance.

Urging the UNSC resolution be implemented in Gaza, Ghebreyesus stated that “the best medicine is peace,” and “in the WestBank, as in Gaza, peace is the only solution.”

3,000 malnourished kids in Gaza dying before eyes of families: UN 

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), approximately 3,000 children in southern Gaza are at risk of dying in front of their families due to a lack of treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

Only two of the Gaza Strip’s three stabilization units for severely malnourished children are operational.

Adele Khodr, UNICEF Regional Director for West Asia and North Africa, expressed that the images of children were “horrific”, adding that the children are at “immediate and serious risk of becoming critically ill, acquiring life-threatening complications.”

Malnourished children are more likely to contract infections and other health problems as a result of inadequate access to fresh water, sewage overflow, infrastructure degradation, and a lack of hygiene supplies.

Doctors say treating a child with acute malnutrition often takes six to eight weeks of continuous care and necessitates special therapeutic food, clean water, and other medical assistance.

Khodr expressed that despite repeated warnings “the devastation continues,” adding that “with hospitals destroyed, treatments stopped and supplies scant, we are poising for more child suffering and deaths.”

Read more: UN Guterres puts ‘Israel’ on list of global offenders against children

According to UNRWA, clean water is extremely scarce since Israeli strikes have struck wells and pipelines.

In an X post, the agency expressed that “children are losing their childhood because of this war. This needs to stop now,” citing their long trips to get water with heavy containers.


UNRWA also revealed that 70% of the population has been drinking salty and polluted water since the war on Gaza began. According to the report, each person in Gaza has access to only 1.5 to 1.8 liters of water daily.

Sudan “ignored or forgotten”

Moving to Sudan, Ghebreyesus has drawn attention to what he called a war “forgotten or ignored” by the world.

Ghebreyesus explained that Sudan is currently home to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 12 million people displaced: “10 million internally, while 2 million have fled to neighboring countries.”

He reported that over 70% of hospitals in conflict-ridden states in the African country are not operating, while the remaining ones are suffocated with the amount of those needing care. 

In addition, the Sudanese people are dying from a lack of access to basic health services and medicine, and there is a genuine risk of mass famine in some areas.

Critical services, including maternity and child health care, severe acute malnutrition management, and chronic disease therapy, have been terminated in many places.

The chief also reported that telecommunication disruptions are exacerbating the inability to verify attacks on health and hindering disease reporting and surveillance, calling for a “swift restoration of telecommunication access” across the country. 

He implored the world media to continue shedding light on the situation in Sudan to ensure it does not stay forgotten.

Ghebreyesus vowed that the WHO continues to “distribute urgently needed medicines, medical supplies using all available avenues, including cross-border and crossline operations, to reach previously unreachable areas in Darfur and Kordofan, where the needs are greatest.”

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