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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UN: 557,000 Women in Gaza Face Severe Food Insecurity


Fri 28 Jun 2024 | 12:39 PM
Israa Farhan

The United Nations Women’s Agency has reported that at least 557,000 women in Gaza are experiencing severe food insecurity, with the situation being particularly dire for mothers and adult women.

These women often prioritize feeding others over themselves and face greater challenges than men in accessing food.

In a report released on Thursday, the UN agency highlighted that many women are forced to skip meals or reduce their intake to ensure their children are fed.

The burdens on women increase during conflicts, limiting their access to services and jeopardizing their health and food security. The risks of gender-based violence also rise.

Women struggle to protect the physical and psychological well-being of their children while shouldering more caregiving and household responsibilities, especially in crowded homes and tents.

Seventy percent of surveyed individuals indicated that childcare, including feeding and physical care, is primarily the mother’s responsibility.

Food insecurity and malnutrition are widespread in Gaza. Seven out of ten women reported losing weight in the past 30 days, and more than half experienced frequent dizziness.

Dependence on Aid: Over 80% of women rely on food aid as their primary food source. However, 87.3% believe food aid is not distributed fairly based on family size.

Previous evidence gathered by the agency showed that mothers often eat the least and last, with 83.5% of participants stating that the aid did not meet their family’s needs.

Pregnant and nursing women face high health risks due to insufficient healthcare and nutritional support.

Seventy-six percent of pregnant women were anemic, and 99% encountered challenges in accessing nutritional and supplemental supplies, endangering the health of both mothers and infants.

Among families with nursing mothers, 55% reported health conditions affecting their ability to breastfeed, and 99% struggled to secure enough breast milk, jeopardizing child survival and development.

Only one-third of the surveyed women had access to kitchens and could cook food.

Sixty-nine percent relied on unsafe cooking methods, such as using wood and burning waste, increasing health risks. 

Women, who are usually responsible for meal preparation, are exposed to dangerous smoke and pollutants, leading to respiratory and other health issues.

The UN Women’s Agency emphasized the need for several measures to address this situation, including ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access for all Gaza residents, providing life-saving humanitarian aid, offering prevention and treatment services for malnutrition, and restoring production and market systems, including rehabilitating food production systems as soon as possible.