Death toll in Gaza hits 30,000 with 79 people killed overnight

Hadya Al Alawi | Nagham Mohanna

More than 30,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza, including 12,000 children, according to its health ministry, since the war started almost five months ago.

Four children have died “due to malnutrition, dehydration and widespread famine” at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza and another two at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza city, following weeks of warnings from international aid agencies of the looming famine in the enclave.

“The lack of available infant formula [milk] exacerbates the suffering, especially for newborns, due to the shortage of milk from mothers who are completely deprived of nutrition,” said Dr Hussam Abu Safia, the director of Kamal Adwan Hospital.

Despite a regional diplomatic push for a ceasefire ahead of the month of Ramadan, the bleak humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in the besieged territory.

Hamas said on Wednesday that the children’s’ deaths constitute an “international failure to protect humanity”.

Dr Abu Safia said that Kamal Adwan Hospital, in the Jabalya camp has been receiving many cases of children with “very clear signs of dehydration and malnutrition, and some of them stay for hours before succumbing and becoming martyrs”.

On Tuesday the UN warned that a quarter of the population of the Gaza Strip – more than half a million people – is one step away from famine.

Last week the organisation documented “a steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in the Gaza strip”, according to research by the Global Nutrition Cluster. It found that the situation is particularly extreme in the Northern Gaza Strip.

“Food and safe water have become incredibly scarce and diseases are rife, compromising women and children’s nutrition and immunity and resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition,” the UN said.

If they want to kill us, why send the aid?
Montaser Aziz, Gaza resident
According to witnesses, dozens of Palestinians were killed and around a 1,000 injured when Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of Gazans waiting for aid lorries at the Al Nabulsi roundabout near Al Rasheed Street, south-west of Gaza city, on Thursday.

Mousa Al Aila, aged 12, was there to receive aid that was supposed to enter the north of the Gaza Strip from the south.

“I went to take some of the aid. We want to eat, we don’t have flour at home,” Mousa told The National.

He saw Israeli soldiers shooting at people. “I saw a number of people on the ground dead,” Mousa said.

Montaser Aziz, 30, said his brother was injured in the leg while they waited to get aid.

“Anyone who tried to grab a sack of flour was immediately shot. If they want to kill us, why send the aid? It’s crazy what’s happening,” Montaser said.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the attack and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Eighteen-year-old Mohammed Adnan said he had waited since 7pm on Wednesday for aid. “I waited all the night, but nothing came,” Mohammed said.

“In the morning, around 5am, the aid started to come, but there were a lot of people there, and they started to push each other.

“Suddenly Israeli soldiers start to shoot towards people, and a number were killed immediately,” he added.

Mohammed has 14 siblings and is his family’s sole breadwinner. He wanted to take them flour to make bread but he couldn’t get any of the food aid.

“We want the aid to enter Gaza in an organised way. Let everyone take, but not like that. People are facing the death to bring food to their children.”

USAID head Samantha Power said Israel needed to open more crossings so that “vitally needed humanitarian assistance can be dramatically surged”.

“This is a matter of life and death,” Power said in a video posted on social media platform X.

(Source: The National)