WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
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WHO Says Many People in Gaza Facing ‘Famine-like Conditions’

Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)
Israeli soldiers operate inside the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel, on Feb. 13, 2024. (AP)

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that many people in Gaza were facing "catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions".

"A significant proportion of Gaza's population is now facing catastrophic hunger and famine-like conditions," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

"Despite reports of increased delivery of food, there is currently no evidence that those who need it most are receiving sufficient quantity and quality of food."

Tedros said there were more than 8,000 children under five years old who have been diagnosed and treated for acute malnutrition, including 1,600 children with severe acute malnutrition.

"However, due to insecurity and lack of access, only two stabilization centers for severely malnourished patients can operate," he added.

"Our inability to provide health services safely, combined with the lack of clean water and sanitation, significantly increases the risk of malnourished children."

The war in Gaza began on Oct. 7 when fighters led by Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took more than 250 hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's response has caused the deaths of more than 37,000 Palestinians, according to the Gazan health ministry, displaced most of Gaza's population of 2.3 million and caused widespread hunger and destruction.

A UN inquiry on Wednesday found that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes early in the Gaza war, and that Israel's actions also constituted crimes against humanity because of the immense civilian losses.

Tedros also highlighted a separate health crisis in the West Bank, where he said healthcare had been targeted by nearly 500 attacks since Oct. 7.

"While the world's focus has been on Gaza, there is also an escalating health crisis in the West Bank, where attacks on healthcare and restrictions on movement of people are obstructing access to health services," he said.

"In most areas of the West Bank, clinics are only operating two days a week and hospitals are operating at about 70% capacity."



Chinese Citizen Missing in Syria’s Suwaida

 Visa entry of Chinese citizen Han Mingyi who went missing in Suwaida, south Syria (Suwaida 24)
 Visa entry of Chinese citizen Han Mingyi who went missing in Suwaida, south Syria (Suwaida 24)
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Chinese Citizen Missing in Syria’s Suwaida

 Visa entry of Chinese citizen Han Mingyi who went missing in Suwaida, south Syria (Suwaida 24)
 Visa entry of Chinese citizen Han Mingyi who went missing in Suwaida, south Syria (Suwaida 24)

A Chinese citizen on a visit to Syria reportedly went missing on Monday during a trip to the city of Suwaida in southern Syria.
“The weather is nice and comfortable” is the last message a Chinese national texted to his friend in Damascus, informing him that he had arrived in Suwaida.
All contact was later cut off with the tourist, according to activists in the Syrian province who said that the Chinese citizen Han Mingyi, arrived in Suwaida last Monday, then disappeared.
The Suwayda 24 news website published a photo of the tourist’s entry visa to Syria with his personal data.
Born in 2003, Mingyi was a guest in a hotel owned by a Chinese person in the capital, Damascus.
The tourist said he was traveling to the province of Daraa, but hours after he left Damascus, Mingyi texted the hotel owner and informed him that he had arrived in Suwaida.
All contacts with him were then lost.
A source from the security services in the province told the news website “there was no report of a missing Chinese tourist in Suwaida or Daraa until this hour.”
The source explained that tourists usually travel in tour groups, and are under security surveillance.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said contact with the Chinese tourist in Suwaida has been lost for days, also listing reports about his kidnapping.
The Observatory noted that the Chinese embassy received a report of the disappearance of the tourist while he was leaving the capital towards southern Syria.
It added that it lost contact with him in the Suwaida province after the man made a phone call with the “hotel owner.”
Despite the presence of security checkpoints, chaos reigns in cities of southern Syria amid the spread of armed gangs, kidnapping, robbery and car theft gangs.
Sources in Damascus told Asharq Al-Awsat that despite the fragility of security in Syria, Europeans and Chinese nationals did not stop visiting the country during the war, but that the majority of them are employees of international organizations and companies.
“During the war, we saw Chinese employees visiting different Syrian areas and sightseeing on the sidelines of their missions,” the sources said.
They said China has already expressed its hopes to play an active role in solving the Syrian crisis, and had appointed a special envoy to Syria in 2016.
However, the sources added that China's ambitions were hit by instability and international economic sanctions on Damascus that continue to impede investment.