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US Senator Chris Van Hollen stated in a speech:

I asked the head of the World Food Programme, former American ambassador Cindy McCain about these reports. [...] I sent her a note asking about reports that some children have now crossed the awful threshold from being on the verge of starvation to dying of starvation. [...] She wrote back, and I quote: "This is true. We are unable to get in enough food to keep people from the brink. Famine is imminent. [...]"

Have any such deaths from starvation been confirmed?

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  • These two Wikipedia articles: 1 2 have what seems likely to be the most current and reliable information you could find on this topic.
    – Dan Romik
    Feb 28 at 22:15
  • @DanRomik thanks, it does seem that some newborns are starving, due to mothers being too malnourished to lactate and lack of formula.
    – Colin
    Feb 29 at 7:01
  • You just give a quote and then ask if the claim is correct. Is there any reason to believe it is false? If there is one, why don't you add it to your post.
    – KlausN
    Feb 29 at 23:34
  • @KlausN no corroboration was forthcoming. Actually all the deaths from starvation that were suggested in the answers came from later.
    – Colin
    Mar 1 at 5:55
  • I don't understand what your claim is. From your post there is Chris van Hollen that claims that there are reports and asks Cindy McCain about these reports. She doesn't seem to answer the precise question that Van Hollen is asking. So is your claim that the reports Van Hollen is talking about do not exist? Or that such reports exist but that no children have died from starvation? In the later case, wouldn't it make more sense to quote the reports (instead of Van Hollen) and then claim that these reports are wrong? (Maybe you are not actually claiming that the reports are wrong...)
    – KlausN
    Mar 3 at 23:29

3 Answers 3

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The conditions for starvation exist.

It is hard to find accurate information about what is happening in Gaza, and particularly in northern Gaza under strict IDF control. However numerous reliable sources have been describing the food situation as critical for some time.

  • As early as December, the UN World Food Program said 90% of people could not eat every day, as reported by the BBC
  • On 16th January, the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights said that "Israel [is] destroying Gaza’s food system". They give some statistics, including 335,000 children under 5 at high risk of severe malnutrition and stunting (stunting means irreversible physical or cognative damage from malnutrition at this critical age).
  • By 20th February, the World Food Program had suspended deliveries to the north of Gaza. As the level of starvation rises, food shipments need police protection to ensure fair distribution. But the IDF refuses to stop killing police/security officers protecting food deliveries, as they consider them part of Hamas, as reported by the Times of Israel

There are unconfirmed reports of children starving to death.

An example of a child dying from starvation would be Mahmoud Fatouh, a two month old infant who died shortly after arriving at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex. This has been widely reported by reputable news agencies such as the BBC, and in more detail by less impartial but generally reliable ones like Al Jazeera who claim to have a video. The BBC report it as "... says Dr Amjad Aliwa" rather than putting it as fact in their article, because they insist on a high level of corroboration before they report something as fact.

Children have almost certainly starved to death.

Taken together, the above two points provide fairly strong evidence that children, particularly the very young, are starving to death. The nature of the war is that firm numbers, or even confirmation of specific cases will probably not be available until the conflict is over, so this is the closest thing to proof we can expect to find at this time.

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  • 5
    Beside the point I think, but Al Jazeera is not "generally reliable" when it comes to Israel-Palestine.
    – Colin
    Feb 27 at 4:18
  • 4
    @Dolphin613Motorboat That does not necessarily reflect the current situation in northern Gaza. a) Rafah is right next to the Egyptian border, which is the border aid is coming in over, b) Although the IDF has conducted airstrikes and limited raids on Rafah, they don't have a regular presence there, so aid is still being delivered and c) a month is a long time in Gaza
    – Jack B
    Feb 27 at 11:30
  • 8
    @Colin AJ is not as good as the BBC, and they have a strong pro-Arab slant on international relations and especially the Palestine conflicts. But this mostly appears in the form of opinion pieces which are labelled as such, and a bias in what they do and don't report, and the tone of the text. They don't publish things they know are not true. That's why I called them generally reliable rather than reputable. I also included a Times of Israel source as something from the other side but also doesn't publish things they know are untrue.
    – Jack B
    Feb 27 at 11:36
  • 5
    @JackB al Jazeera reports wrong information about Palestine/Israel routinely.
    – Colin
    Feb 27 at 14:52
  • 4
    @IanKemp The BBC info about the 2 month old who starved is quite credible.
    – Colin
    Mar 1 at 5:56
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Hunger is a bit like old age in that it is often not the direct cause of death. A 100-year-old gets influenza and dies. Was it the influenza or the old age? A baby who hasn't eaten in a week gets influenza and dies. Was it the influenza or the hunger? The point here is that the number of deaths directly attributable to hunger will be relatively few, while the number deaths, where hunger is a contributing factor, will be orders of magnitude larger.

That said, we do have some evidence of deaths due to starvation:

  • 2024-02-24, Mahmoud Fattouh, a two-months-old baby [8]
  • 2024-02-26, Elham Jona, a 17-year-old girl from Al-Tuffa with cerebral palsy [1, 2, 3]
  • 2024-02-27, Anhar Saqr Al-Shanbari, a young girl from Beit Hanoun [4, 5, 6]
  • 2024-02-28, Sahar Al-Zabda, an infant at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza [7, 9]
  • 2024-03-01, Hiba Ziada, an infant at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza [10, 11].
  • 2024-03-04, Yazan Al-Kafarna, a 9-year-old boy with cerebral palsy from Beit Hanoun [13, 14].

According to Christian Lindmeier of the WHO ten children have, according to Gaza hospital records, starved to death so far. The reports of starvation deaths are unsurprising given what human rights organizations have previously reported about food scarcity in Gaza. Note that this is my original research (which I will update), all sources are from Twitter, and none of the deaths have been "confirmed" by Western media. Perhaps they never will given the chaotic situation and short news cycles. Caveat emptor.

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  • 2
    Note that Quds News Network is a propaganda source allegedly affiliated with Hamas.
    – Colin
    Mar 4 at 2:54
3

Yes, there are multiple reports of children starving to death in Gaza.


Children are dying of starvation in northern Gaza, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief says. . Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency's visits over the weekend to the Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan hospitals were the first since early October.

In a post on social media, he spoke of "grim findings".

A lack of food resulted in the deaths of 10 children and "severe levels of malnutrition", while hospital buildings have been destroyed, he wrote.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reported on Sunday that at least 15 children had died from malnutrition and dehydration at the Kamal Adwan hospital.

A 16th child died on Sunday at a hospital in the southern city of Rafah, the Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported on Monday.

BBC News - 04 March 2024

Dr Tedros (WHO) reported "severe levels of malnutrition, children dying of starvation, serious shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies, hospital buildings destroyed" in northern Gaza, where an estimated 300,000 people are living with little food or clean water.

"The lack of food resulted in the deaths of 10 children," he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The visits were the WHO's first in months "despite our efforts to gain more regular access to the north of Gaza", he wrote.

"The situation at Al-Awda Hospital is particularly appalling, as one of the buildings is destroyed," he added.

BBC News - 04 March 2024

The UN warned last week that famine in Gaza was "almost inevitable".

A senior UN aid official warned that at least 576,000 people across the Gaza Strip - one quarter of the population - faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity and one in six children under the age of two in the north were suffering from acute malnutrition.

And the regional director of the UN's children's agency, Unicef, said "the child deaths we feared are here, as malnutrition ravages the Gaza Strip".

"These tragic and horrific deaths are man-made, predictable and entirely preventable," Adele Khodr said in a statement on Sunday.

BBC News - 04 March 2024

Gaza’s Health Ministry says “dozens” have been killed and wounded in a “horrific massacre” of aid seekers at the Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza City. The ministry says at least 15 children have died in the past few days from malnutrition and dehydration at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza City hours after the chief of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned of acute malnutrition.

Aljazeera - 03 March 2024

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