Gaza hunger figures “worst on record” - says Oxfam

Published: 18th March 2024

In reaction to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report published today on Gaza stating that famine is imminent in Northern Gaza and, if Israel persists in its hostilities and restricting humanitarian access, there is a real risk of famine for the rest of the enclave,  Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, said:   

“This new report shows that the catastrophic levels of hunger and starvation in Gaza are the highest ever recorded on the IPC scale, both in terms of number of people and percentage of the population. Never before have we seen such rapid deterioration into widespread starvation. 

“Northern Gaza is days away from famine and the rest of Gaza faces a similar fate. Children are already dying of malnutrition and starvation under the gaze of the international community. Since December, the number of people in Gaza who have plunged into catastrophic levels of hunger, has nearly doubled. 

“Oxfam’s report today shows how Israel is causing these horrifying figures, by deliberately blocking food and aid from going into Gaza. It has been using starvation as a weapon of war for over five months now. The humanitarian situation in Gaza has actually worsened since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) specifically ordered Israel to enable more aid.  Israel’s deliberate manufacturing of suffering is systemic and of such scale and intensity that it creates a real risk of a genocide in Gaza. 

“We cannot wait for a declaration of famine to stop these appalling atrocities and massively scale up humanitarian operations. 

“Israel cannot starve and bomb Gaza into a solution. Only an immediate permanent ceasefire and a political solution, including ending the occupation and release of all hostages and illegally held prisoners, can bring a lasting peace with justice for both Palestinians and Israelis alike”.   

Notes to editors

Latest IPC findings show that Famine is projected to occur anytime between now and May 2024 in the northern governorates of Gaza and North Gaza. Read the Famine Review Committee report and the full IPC's Gaza Report  

In the IPC’s five-tier classification of food crises, Gaza now has the largest percentage of a population to receive its most severe rating (IPC phase 5 - catastrophe) since the body began reporting in 2004. It has also never been recorded that an entire population (or 100%) be in IPC Phase 3 or worse.

Read Oxfam's report Inflicting Unprecedented Suffering and Destruction”, Oxfam brief, 18 March 2024.  

In the period 7 Dec 2023 –7 Feb 2024, the number of people in Gaza who were in IPC5 (Catastrophe) was 576,600 , and according to the projection period (which starts mid-March), the number rose to 1.1 million, which is a 92% rise. Source: IPC Report, 18 March 2024   

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative multi-partner initiative of 19 organisations, including Oxfam, and intergovernmental institutions. The IPC initiative provides food security and nutrition analysis to inform decision-making.    

According to the IPC classification, the entire population of Gaza is curently facing high levels of acute food insecurity – or IPC 3 (Crisis) and above. This includes half of the population (about 1.11 million) experiencing catastrophic food insecurity (IPC Phase 5, Catastrophe). This is the highest ever recorded number of people in IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe), both in terms of percent of the population and total number of people. 

The IPC analysis was done between 26 February and 1 March, 2024.  The figures are likely an underestimate of the situation now.  

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