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UNICEF warns of increase in the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition in Gaza

This Friday (15), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported an alarming increase in the rate of malnutrition among children in Gaza. The number has practically doubled in just one month and there is no prospect of the food reaching the north of the Gaza Strip, due to the impasse in negotiations between the Israeli authorities and the Hamas group.

According to tests collected to detect whether a child is malnourished, UNICEF and its partners were able to conclude that one in three children under the age of two have severe malnutrition.

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Amid the ceasefire negotiations, there are children who suffer every day from the lack of food and basic survival conditions, around 4.5% of children are affected, increasing the risk of death without proper treatment.

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The Ministry of Health in Gaza, controlled by the Hamas group, reported that at least 13,450 children have died since the war began on October 7. The deaths were due to attacks by Israeli forces or food shortages that affected the entire region.


Palestinian girl eating bread (Photo: reproduction/gettyimages/SAID KHATIB)


Understand the diagnosis of malnutrition

Severe acute malnutrition is when a child is very thin in relation to their height. This is the most visible and lethal form of malnutrition. With a weakened immune system, the risk of death increases among children under 5 years of age.

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There are three types of malnutrition classified according to the nutrients lacking in the diet: Kwashiorkor is a lack of proteins, Marasmus means a lack of calories and Kwashiorkor-marasmatic is a lack of energy sources and proteins. In the most severe forms, there is muscle loss, growth failure, psychological changes, immunity is impaired and organ function slows down, resulting in multiple organ failure, which can lead to death.


(Photo: reproduction/Getty Images/Mahmud Hams)


Difficult humanitarian aid mission

The number of humanitarian aid trucks entering the Gaza Strip decreased in February, according to UN data, which warns of an increase in a major catastrophe if nothing is done immediately.

In addition to fighting and looting, aid is unable to reach the territory in an organized and sufficient manner to feed the entire population. Humanitarian leaders have demanded that Israeli authorities and other countries send water, food and medicine to civilians.

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“If something doesn’t change, hunger will be almost inevitable,” warned Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).

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Water supplies in Gaza are impaired, around 97% of water reservoirs have been deemed “unfit for human consumption” and agricultural production is collapsing, according to Maurizio Martina, FAO assistant director general. According to the Palestinian Development Association.

Featured photo: Palestinian children carrying pots of soup delivered by volunteers (Reproduction/Said Khatib/AFP/Getty Images)

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UNICEF warns of increase in the number of children suffering from acute malnutrition in Gaza

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