Statement by the Director-General on the food security situation in Gaza
Director-General QU Dongyu
I am profoundly distressed by the loss of lives and the human catastrophe unfolding due to the violence taking place in the Middle East, and most particularly in Gaza.
I join the Secretary-General, and my colleagues in the IASC in calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to ease civilian suffering and to facilitate delivery of urgent assistance at scale. All parties must respect their obligations under the international humanitarian and human rights law and protect civilians. An immediate ceasefire and peace are a prerequisite for food security, and the Right to Food is a basic human right.
The escalation of hostilities in Israel and Palestine is drastically affecting all dimensions of food security. Even before the escalation, close to 60 percent of households in Gaza were considered food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity. Agricultural and agrifood activities in Gaza have largely collapsed since the onset of the current hostilities and the interruption of water, food, and fuel supply. Fisheries and livestock activities, and production of fresh fruits and vegetables have come to a standstill reducing access to critical sources of protein and nutritious foods, as well as key sources of employment and livelihoods.
At this point, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) considers all the civilian population in Gaza to be food insecure.
In accordance with its mandate and in coordination with our humanitarian partners, FAO is fully committed to addressing the pressing humanitarian needs of the population in the Gaza Strip and additional needs emerging in the West Bank to safeguard and restore agriculture-based livelihoods. We are following the situation with great concern and continue to mobilize technical expertise to support the people of Palestine, including through our co-leadership of the Food Security Cluster.
FAO is mobilizing vital agriculture supplies for transport to Gaza once access and resources are made available. In addition, FAO will support agrifood sector assessments on the ground as soon as conditions allow. We are also monitoring the impact of hostilities on food security in the region and beyond.
Let me reaffirm FAO’s full commitment to continue and to scale up assistance to the Palestinian people, taking all necessary measures to do so within FAO’s mandate. Water, food, medicine, and fuel are urgent and self-evident priorities to alleviate human suffering, but we should not forget the importance of emergency agriculture assistance for survival.