Gaza: Children are starving to death, Palestinian officials say, as there are sticking points in the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas

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A mother cries for her baby in front of the incubator, with the baby's body inside her, at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, Gaza, on February 29, 2024.



CNN

The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that an increasing number of children in the Gaza Strip are dying from dehydration and malnutrition, amid desperate conditions due to the Israeli siege. Stifling aid and the destruction of the besieged enclave – reinforcing the urgency of ceasefire talks this week.

Negotiators met in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Sunday to hold talks on A Israel-Hamas Ceasefire agreement and the release of hostages from Gaza, but Israel He did not send a delegation Despite mounting international pressure to end hostilities and allow for an increase in much-needed humanitarian aid, an Israeli official told CNN.

The official said the reason was that Hamas had not responded to two Israeli demands: a list of Israeli hostages specifying who is alive and who is dead; And verify the proportion of Palestinian prisoners who will be released from Israeli prisons, compared to hostages held by Hamas activists. Communities that were attacked In southern Israel on October 7.

The fighter The group wants a permanent end to the fighting Before agreeing to release the hostages, a Hamas source told CNN as a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Sunday. However, a senior Hamas official did not immediately respond to CNN's question about whether the militant group had complied with the Israeli conditions.

This comes at a time when US statements regarding the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza are increasing, with the United Nations warning hundreds of thousands of residents. They are on the verge of starvation Israel, an ally of the United States, continues to do so Obstructing the bulk of aid delivery.

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On Saturday, the United States conducted its first test Humanitarian airdrop in The bar – 66 packages containing meals but no water or medical supplies, according to a US official He said. Help groups I criticized Airdrops are an ineffective and humiliating way to deliver aid to Palestinians in Gaza, according to UN director of the International Crisis Group. Saying they are At best, it is a “temporary first aid measure.”

One of the strongest rebukes of Israel by a US official to date came from US Vice President Kamala Harris, who said on Sunday: He strongly called for more humanitarian aid In Gaza, saying people in the area were “starving” in the face of “inhumane” conditions, he urged Israel to do more.

It called for an “immediate ceasefire for at least six weeks,” a proposal currently on the negotiating table, and urged Hamas to release the Israeli hostages.

“What we see every day in Gaza is devastating. We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal feed. Women are giving birth to malnourished babies without medical care,” Harris said, citing the deaths of dozens of Palestinians amid Israeli gunfire and panic in Gaza’s food lines. Little or no food, and children die of malnutrition and dehydration.”

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. There are no excuses,” Harris said.

Her comments also come at a critical moment in… Israel-Hamas war. The vice president is expected to meet on Monday with a key member of Israel's war cabinet, Benny Gantz, in Washington as the United States continues to call for a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages.

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In northern Gaza, children are starving to death and others are fighting for their lives as vital supplies are prevented from reaching those in need.

A spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Sunday that the number of children who died due to dehydration and malnutrition in northern Gaza had risen to 15 children.

CNN cannot independently confirm the deaths of children or the causes of their deaths due to the lack of international media access to Gaza during wartime.

The Gaza Ministry of Health said on Monday that another 124 people were killed in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll in the Strip since October 7 to 30,534.

Also, “doctors at Kamal Adwan Hospital feared for the lives of six children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea in intensive care as a result of the cessation of the electric generator and oxygen and the weakness of medical capabilities,” said Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, and the ministry’s spokesman in Gaza said in a statement.

The ministry said the death toll has been rising since last week when incubators and oxygen supplies at Kamal Adwan Hospital stopped working at night due to a lack of fuel.

One recent incident revealed a particularly desperate situation in northern Gaza.

More than 100 people were killed Last week, Israeli forces opened fire on crowds, sparking panic as hungry Palestinian civilians gathered around food aid trucks, Palestinian officials and witnesses said.

Israel said its forces fired warning shots to disperse the crowd. A United Nations team visited the victims, he said Many were injured by gunshots.

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The United Nations Children's Fund called for urgent action, requesting “multiple reliable entry points” to allow aid to enter.

“Humanitarian relief agencies like UNICEF must be empowered to overcome the humanitarian crisis, prevent famine, and save children’s lives.” Adele Khader from UNICEF He said in a statement on Sunday.

UNICEF said it was aware of the death of at least 10 children due to dehydration and malnutrition in recent days at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

“There are likely to be more children fighting for their lives somewhere in one of the few remaining hospitals in Gaza, and there are likely to be more children in the north unable to access care at all,” Khader added.

She described the situation as “man-made, predictable and entirely preventable” and warned that the death toll among children could rise rapidly unless immediate action is taken.

“The widespread shortage of nutritious food, safe water and medical services, a direct result of the barriers to access and multiple risks facing UN humanitarian operations, affects children and mothers, hampering their ability to breastfeed their children, especially in the northern Gaza Strip. She said.

“People are hungry, exhausted and in shock. Many are clinging to life.”

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