9,000 women have been killed in Gaza while population faces famine

9,000 women have been killed in Gaza while population faces famine

Written by Leila Hawkins

Photo: EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid / Robin Lloyd/ECHO / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

  • The latest UN figures show that at least 9,000 women have been killed in Gaza since the start of Israel’s offensive 
  • An average of 63 women are killed every day 
  • Gaza’s food systems have collapsed, with women resorting to scavenging for food under rubble to feed their children

An estimated 9,000 women have been reportedly killed by Israeli forces in Gaza since October 7. This figure is likely to be an underestimate, as many more women are reported to be dead under the rubble. 

In a press release covering the latest harrowing statistics from Gaza, the UN has stated that “the war on Gaza is also a war on women.” 

Every day the war in Gaza continues at the current rate, an average of 63 women will continue to be killed, 37 of whom are mothers. At least 10,000 children have lost their fathers, leaving families devastated and children without any protection. 

UN data also shows that family members are skipping meals, and more than 4 out of 5 women are reporting that their family eats half or less of the food they used to before Israel’s offensive began. Women and girls are being hit hardest by acute food insecurity levels, as they deprioritise their food intake to feed children and other family members. 

Due to the shortage of food, pregnant and lactating women are at risk of malnutrition, increasing their chances of health conditions that can lead to death for both mothers and babies. The UNRWA has also raised concerns about the survival of newborns as hospitals lack baby food and formulas.

Nearly 9 in 10 women report finding it harder to access food than men, and some are now resorting to extreme coping mechanisms such as scavenging for food under rubble or in dumpsters.

Food is not reaching people in Gaza 

Since October 2023, electricity cuts have disrupted food security by affecting refrigeration, and most bakeries are unable to operate due to the shortage of essential ingredients, such as wheat flour. 

While the region’s food production systems have collapsed, Israel has issued a strict blockade on vital resources reaching the Gaza strip, permitting only very limited quantities of water and essential supplies from entering. 

In February Philippe Lazzarini, the director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said that a convoy of food donated by Turkey had been sitting for weeks in the Israeli port city of Ashdod, after receiving a call from Israeli customs authorities “ordering them not to process any UNRWA goods.”

The convoy contained more than a thousand shipping containers of rice, flour, chickpeas, sugar and cooking oil – enough food for 1.1 million people for one month.  

On February 29, at least 112 Palestinians were killed while trying to get food from a convoy of 18 trucks, with eyewitnesses and journalists reporting that Israeli troops opened fire onto the crowd as they gathered round the vehicles. Many of the casualties were accidentally run over by the trucks as they attempted to escape the gunfire. 

Famine in Gaza “almost inevitable” 

Journalist Hind Khoudary has reported that some aerial food drops are not reaching people because they are being dropped in areas controlled by the military. “The food that was air dropped on the north of the Gaza Strip today was not received by anyone because it was simply thrown on the buffer zone and people were not able to reach it,” she said in an Instagram post. The creation of a buffer zone within the Palestinian territories has been condemned by international human rights organisations.

In another post, Khoudary reports that people are resorting to eating leaves and animal food. UN agencies have warned that famine is “almost inevitable” unless aid is scaled up immediately. 

All reports point to Gaza being on the verge of starvation, and without an immediate ceasefire and access to humanitarian aid into and across the region, many more will die in the coming days and weeks. 


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