Aid Experts Warn Gaza Death Toll Could Exceed 100,000

by | Apr 9, 2024

Aid Experts Warn Gaza Death Toll Could Exceed 100,000

by | Apr 9, 2024

Palestinians Gaza food aid

FILE PHOTO: Palestinians receive food aid at a distribution site in central Gaza, February 29, 2024. (Credit: Anadolu Agency / Ali Jadallah)

A group of aid experts said that more than 100,000 Palestinians could be killed by a combination of Israeli strikes, famine, and plague if the humanitarian conditions in Gaza are not significantly improved.

In an interview with Haaretz, Francesco Checchi, professor of epidemiology and international health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the leader of a group of scientists studying excess deaths in Gaza, warned of the abysmal conditions facing 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. 

“The most troubling thing at the moment is the famine. If the amount of food entering the Gaza Strip remains as it is, and does not increase significantly in the coming days, we will reach catastrophic levels of starvation,” he said. 

“I have been studying humanitarian crises for 20 years, and I have never seen such rates of starvation. I also worked in Somalia, and the daily caloric intake per person in Gaza is currently below the minimum during the worst days of the Somali famine.” Checchi continued, “It must be understood: The amount of food currently entering Gaza is insufficient for human survival. Our data shows this, and the first cases of death by starvation are already being recorded in the field as well.”

Checchi’s team of epidemiologists issued a report that predicted over 100,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza. The team said that many of the dead would include those with treatable injuries who lacked access to medical care and medicine needed to treat their wounds. The Gaza death toll will hit that grim milestone in August if the status quo remains, or sooner if Israel moves ahead with the assault on Rafah. 

In just over six months, the brutal Israeli onslaught has killed at least 33,000 and injured more than 70,000 Palestinians. However, that death toll is likely an undercount, as thousands of dead Palestinians remained buried beneath the rubble of the Israeli destruction of the Strip. 

While bombs and bullets have killed tens of thousands, experts warn that famine and plague could be more lethal. After the October 7 attack, the Israeli defense minister vowed to tighten the existing blockade on Gaza, including humanitarian aid to civilians. 

During its military campaign, Tel Aviv has limited the flow of aid to a trickle. What little assistance that enters the Strip is often attacked by Israeli soldiers, with at least 200 aid workers killed amid the fighting.

The international monitoring group on starvation says over one million Palestinians are facing catastrophic food insecurity and predicts those people will face famine in the next month. 

Hundreds of thousands are also facing new outbreaks of disease. The World Health Organization has reported widespread respiratory infections and diarrhea, which could ultimately spell a death sentence for the hundreds of thousands of malnourished children in the Strip. 

Along with stifling aid deliveries and targeting assistance, Israeli forces have decimated Gaza’s internal agricultural sector, ensuring the Palestinians have nothing to eat as military bulldozers destroy massive swaths of farmland, greenhouses, and other infrastructure.

Another factor contributing to excess mortality in Gaza is the destruction of the medical system. Most hospitals and medical centers have been attacked and destroyed. Additionally, Tel Aviv bars common medical equipment, such as scissors, anesthetics, and antibiotics, from entering the Strip, claiming they could be used by Hamas. 

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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