Gaza’s steep rise in child death from malnutrition is devastating, says World Vision

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

International aid agency World Vision is devastated by the confirmation of a steep rise in child death from malnutrition reported in the Gaza Strip by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an independent and apolitical mechanism, on 18 March. The agency calls for immediate action from the international community to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe.

The report shows a dramatic degradation of the humanitarian situation with almost half (49%) of the population of the Gaza Strip now facing significant risks of acute malnutrition and death due to catastrophic food insecurity, compared to 27% in January. Almost one third (31%) of the children under two years old in the north of Gaza are suffering from acute malnutrition and at risk of imminent death (a rise from 16% in January). An estimated half-million people in the north of Gaza are now experiencing famine-like conditions. All 1.1 million children in the Gaza Strip are at risk of famine over the next three months.

Beginning with attacks on October 7th, more than 13,500 children have been killed, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). This is more than the entire number of children killed in all conflicts in the world over the past four years.

Eleanor Monbiot, World Vision Regional Leader, Middle East Eastern Europe says, “In this conflict, children have been disproportionately impacted. We call for a ceasefire and lasting peace, and the end of all restrictions that are preventing food and lifesaving aid to reach the civilian population, especially children, their families and vulnerable groups. Starvation and child deaths are preventable if appropriate and immediate humanitarian support reaches them. The IPC’s latest report clearly shows that time is running out for more than a million Gazan children who have been caught up in this crisis.”

Conflicts are the largest driver of hunger. Like in many places in the world, the worrying impact of the violence in Gaza on child nutrition is reaching far beyond its borders and the children from the entire region would benefit from an increase of humanitarian aid, improved access to food, and a lasting ceasefire. However, while we wait for the end of the hostilities, they continue to suffer from a lack of food. “Ending hunger is inherently linked to the end of the hostilities and achieving sustainable peace. The international community has the resources and technical knowledge to address hunger in Gaza and in the whole region. Today, what is missing is the political will to prioritise the nutrition and survival of children by putting an end to the violence and allowing safe and unimpeded humanitarian access,” says Mary Njeri, World Vision Global Hunger Response Director.

“Our hearts are broken by the preventable suffering and inconceivable pain endured by countless children whose lives have been devastated by this conflict. We hope and pray for an end to hostilities and release of hostages for the sake of all God’s precious children whose protection is enshrined in international law,” Eleanor Monbiot says.


Notes to editor:   

World Vision delivers critical humanitarian assistance to vulnerable children and their families in the West Bank and across the region, including lifesaving in-kind food and cash and voucher assistance; access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene needs; psychosocial support to affected children and their families; and reducing/mitigating predictable humanitarian impacts from negatively affecting at-risk populations through anticipatory action and resilience building.

Through World Vision’s Global Hunger Response and ENOUGH campaign, the organisation is responding to the immediate needs of the most vulnerable girls, boys, and their families who are experiencing acute hunger in 28 countries of highest alert where World Vision operates, highlighting the driving factors and impacts of hunger, malnutrition, and food insecurity on children globally, and advocating to governments and donors to do more to prevent mass starvation.

For more information please contact: World Vision’s Middle East Crisis Response, Communications & Advocacy Senior Advisor, Micah Branaman, 

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.  

For more information, please visitwww.wvi.orgor follow us on X, formerly known as Twitter, @WorldVision