NIn a video call from the Gaza Strip, the deputy head of the WHO office, Ahmed Dahir, said that 10 children recently died at the Kamal Adwan hospital, a place he visited last weekend to deliver humanitarian aid, including medical supplies.

The death of five other children due to malnutrition and dehydration was reported elsewhere in the Palestinian enclave, the scene of a war between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas since October 7, 2023.

Dahir witnessed the case of two severely malnourished children being treated during his mission, which was the first to bring aid to this hospital – the largest hospital unit specializing in pediatric care, located in northern Gaza – since the start of the war.

The Kamal Adwan hospital is located in the area of ​​the enclave most devastated by the war and, despite the damage to its infrastructure, the destruction of some of its buildings, the shortage of medical supplies and the lack of fuel and electricity, it is back in operation.

“Patients and medical staff survive on one meal a day,” Dahir said.

“The rapid and severe decline in malnutrition in Gaza is unprecedented worldwide when it had never been a problem. Gaza was self-sufficient when it came to fish, poultry, eggs, vegetables and fruit. Strawberries from Gaza are famous and were exported “, explained, in turn, the WHO responsible for the Palestinian territories, Rik Peeperkorn.

Still in the same press conference via video call, the spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), James Elder, explained that malnutrition usually leaves lifelong consequences, compromising the development of the brain and the main organs of the body. child and easily exposing him to any infection due to the lack of nutrients provided by a varied diet.

In more extreme cases, the calorie deficit can lead to the failure of vital organs.

Elder explained that a child under five years of age with severe malnutrition is 11 times more likely to die from this cause than from pneumonia, which is the most lethal disease in childhood.

The WHO has once again called on Israel to facilitate access to humanitarian aid, as well as fuel, without which the electricity needed for critical areas, be they intensive care or nursing units, cannot be generated.

The ongoing war between Israel and Hamas was triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist group on Israeli soil on October 7, which caused around 1,200 deaths and more than two hundred hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

In retaliation, Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has already caused more than 30,000 deaths, according to Hamas, which has controlled the territory since 2007.

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