Humanitarian Coordinator for oPt - OCHA
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Press Conferences , Edited News | OCHA

OCHA - Press Conference: Humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory - 18 March 2024

STORYLINE

GAZA: Famine is imminent as half of Gaza experience catastrophic food insecurity, warn UN humanitarians.

The latest food security report from the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) on war-ravaged Gaza published on Monday indicates that more than half of all Palestinians in Gaza –1.1 million people– have completely exhausted their food supplies and are facing catastrophic hunger.

“The IPC mentions that famine is imminent if the steps are not taken. But I would also say that for a lot of young children there, especially the under two year olds, who have shown some serious signs of malnutrition, dehydration and anemia and pregnant mothers and new mothers, I think that the damage to the development potential of a lot of these young people has probably been affected in something they might never ever recover from and reach their full potential,” said Jamie McGoldrick, U.N. aid coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, speaking from Jerusalem to journalists at the United Nations in Geneva.

He added that “this one IPC records the highest number of people facing catastrophic hunger ever recorded by an IPC anywhere at any time in the world. So, it shows the severity of that, especially in the north part of the country, where over 70 per cent of the people are in real difficult circumstances there.”

Palestinians in Gaza are enduring horrifying levels of hunger and suffering. The IPC report noted that virtually all households now skip meals every day in Gaza. Adults have reduced their meals so that children can eat.

The IPC acute food insecurity analysis conducted in December 2023 warned of a risk that Famine may occur by the end of May 2024 if an immediate cessation of hostilities and sustained access for the provision of essential supplies and services to the population did not take place. Since then, the conditions necessary to prevent famine have not been met and the latest evidence confirms that Famine is imminent in the northern governorates and projected to occur anytime between mid-March and May 2024.

 “The environment we're working is very, very uncertain, unstable. We're not sure how to plan for more than 48 hours, 72 hours because of the uncertainties there. And with the fear of a Rafah incursion, it makes it all the more difficult. If there is some sort of humanitarian pause or some sort of ceasefire in the future, obviously, we'd like to exploit that,” said the UN’s aid coordinator.

Particularly concerning is “the very low number of trucks that we get in, the 200 trucks, is far smaller than the 500 before October seven, and with very little in the way of private sector it will be very difficult for us to actually do anything meaningful unless we can scale up very, very quickly. And that means opening up as many borders as we possibly can,” Mr. McGoldrick emphasized.

In reply to a journalist question about aid deliveries via airdrops and maritime as alternatives to the limited road access, Mr. McGoldrick said that “we would rather spend time getting the roads opened, get the roads graded because they've been heavily destroyed by the military activity and by the weather. And we'd also have to look at the unexploded ordnance to be removed as well. And having all roads and all entry points to the north and elsewhere open, that is the best way to address the humanitarian crisis, the famine that you mentioned is imminent, as the report indicates.”

The only real way to get heavy loads of material, food and others into all parts of Gaza would only be by road, Mr. McGoldrick emphasized.

To allow more aid deliveries by trucks, as many borders as possible would need to be open, and there’s also a need for additional crossing points towards the north. 

“We haven't been allowed by Israel to bring in sufficient ability for us to communicate with each other. And we are sending people on convoys to the north into quite hostile areas, and we have no means of tracking them, no means of talking to them if something untoward was to happen. So, while Israel talks about enabling environment, I just have to point out some of those facts.”

-ends-

STORY: Humanitarian Coordinator OPT  

 

TRT: 2:54”

SOURCE: UNTV CH 

RESTRICTIONS: NONE 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS 

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 18 March 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  
  2. Wide shot: speaker at the press conference 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “The IPC mentions that famine is imminent if the steps are not taken. But I would also say that for a lot of young children there, especially the under two year olds, who have shown some serious signs of malnutrition, dehydration and anemia and pregnant mothers and new mothers, I think that the damage to the development potential of a lot of these young people has probably been affected in something they might never ever recover from and reach their full potential.”
  4. Medium shot: moderator at the podium during the press conference 
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “This one IPC records the highest number of people facing catastrophic hunger ever recorded by an IPC anywhere at any time in the world. So, it shows the severity of that, especially in the north part of the country, where over 70 per cent of the people are in real difficult circumstances there.”
  6. Wide shot: Journalists in press room   
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “The environment we're working is very, very uncertain, unstable. We're not sure how to plan for more than 48 hours, 72 hours because of the uncertainties there. And with the fear of a Rafah incursion, it makes it all the more difficult. If there is a some sort of humanitarian pause or some sort of ceasefire in the future, obviously, we'd like to exploit that.”
  8. Medium shot: Camera woman filming
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “The very low number of trucks that we get in, the 200 trucks, is far smaller than the 500 before October seven, and with very little in the way of private sector it will be very difficult for us to actually do anything meaningful unless we can scale up very, very quickly. And that means opening up as many borders as we possibly can.”
  10. Medium shot: journalists in the press room  
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) - Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “We would rather spend time getting the roads opened, get the roads graded because they've been heavily destroyed by the military activity and by the weather. And we'd also have to look at the unexploded ordnance to be removed as well. And having all roads and all entry points to the north and elsewhere open, that is the best way to address the humanitarian crisis, the famine that you mentioned is imminent, as the report indicates.”
  12. Close up, journalist in press briefing room
  13. Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for the oPt (speaking from Jerusalem): “We haven't been allowed by Israel to bring in sufficient ability for us to communicate with each other. And we are sending people on convoys to the north into quite hostile areas, and we have no means of tracking them,  no means of talking to them if something untoward was to happen. So, while Israel talks about enabling environment, I just have to point out some of those facts.”
  14. Medium shot, technical staff monitoring briefing
  15. Medium shot, journalists listening  


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