Malnutrition stalks blockaded residents of Gaza
THEY are less dramatic than gunshot wounds, but the growing number of Palestinians with empty stomachs are a no less alarming result of two years of fighting with Israel.
Palestinians are suffering from an "emergency" of surging malnutrition, especially in the Gaza Strip, according to preliminary results of a survey, funded by the US government, that was issued yesterday. It showed that 9.3 per cent of Palestinian children suffered from acute malnutrition, meaning that they weighed less than they should for their age or height; 13.2 per cent suffered from chronic malnutrition, meaning their growth had been stunted by poor diet.
More than half the Palestinian population surveyed reported having to decrease their food consumption for more than one day during a two-week period, with 65 per cent of respondents saying this was due to lack of money and 35 per cent saying it was due to Israeli curfews. Fifty three per cent of households said they had had to borrow money for food and 17 per cent had had to sell assets to buy food. Thirty-two per cent of all households reported that they were buying less bread, potatoes and rice.