Children dying of hunger, dehydration in Gaza – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Monday said an aid mission to two hospitals in northern Gaza came up with pathetic and gory tales of children dying of starvation, following inadequate availability of food, fuel and medicines.

WHO chief, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the agency’s visits weekend to the Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan hospitals “were the first since early October 2023 despite our efforts to gain more regular access to the north of Gaza,” AFP reports.

Writing on his X handle, Ghebreyesus said:  “The situation at Al-Awda was particularly appalling, as one of the buildings was destroyed.”

He said the Kamal Adwan hospital, the only pediatrics hospital in northern Gaza, was overwhelmed with patients.

Besides, Ghebreyesus also cautioned that “the lack of electricity poses a serious threat to patient care, especially in critical areas like the intensive care unit and the neonatal unit.”

The WHO chief said:  “The lack of food resulted in the deaths of 10 children.”

The United Nations, had last week, warned that famine in the Gaza Strip was “almost inevitable” because of the raging war raging in the Palestinian territory since Hamas militants embarked on  an unprecedented attack inside Israel October 7.

…Palestine laments, negotiators in Cairo

Also, CNN also reported the Palestinian health ministry as saying  a growing number of children in Gaza are dying from dehydration and malnutrition.

This, it said, came amid desperate conditions due to Israel’s throttling of aid and destruction of the besieged enclave— reinforcing the urgency of this week’s ceasefire talks.

In northern Gaza, children are starving to death and others fighting for their lives as critical supplies are held up from reaching those in need.

The ministry’s official said Sunday the number of children who died of dehydration and malnutrition in northern Gaza had risen to 15.

CNN cannot independently confirm the deaths of the children or their causes due to the lack of international media access to wartime Gaza.

A further 124 people were killed over the past 24 hours, the Gaza Ministry of Health said Monday, bringing the death toll in the enclave since October 7 to 30,534.

Medical doctors at the Kamal Adwan Hospital also “fear for the lives of six children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea in intensive care as a result of the cessation of the electric generator and oxygen and the weakness of medical capabilities.”

Dr. Ashraf Al-Qidra, the ministry’s spokesman in Gaza said in a statement.

The death toll has been rising since last week when incubators and oxygen supplies at Kamal Adwan Hospital ceased to operate at night because of fuel shortages, the ministry said.

…Negotiators gather in Cairo

Negotiators gathered in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday for talks on a Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal and release of hostages from Gaza, but Israel did not send a delegation, an Israeli official told CNN, despite increasing international pressure to end hostilities and allow for a desperately needed surge of humanitarian aid.

The official said the reason was that Hamas had not responded to two Israeli demands: a list of Israeli hostages specifying which are alive and which are dead; and confirmation of the ratio of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli prisons, in exchange for the hostages taken when Hamas militants attacked communities in southern Israel on October 7.

The militant group wants a permanent end to fighting before agreeing to release hostages, a Hamas source told CNN as a Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Sunday.

However, a high-ranking Hamas official did not immediately respond to a CNN question about whether the militant group had responded to Israel’s conditions.

…US condemns act

It comes as the United States is increasingly vocal about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, where the United Nations warns hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of famine and US ally Israel continues to obstruct the bulk of aid deliveries.

On Saturday, the US made its first humanitarian airdrop into the strip — 66 bundles containing meals but no water or medical supplies, a US official said.

Aid groups have criticized the air drops as an ineffective and degrading way to get aid to Palestinians in Gaza, with the International Crisis Group’s UN director saying they are at best a “temporary Band-Aid measure.”

One of the strongest rebukes of Israel by a US official to date came from US Vice President Kamala Harris, who, on Sunday, forcefully called for more humanitarian aid into Gaza, saying that people in the region are “starving” in the face of “inhumane” conditions and urged Israel to do more.

She called for an “immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks,” a proposal currently on the negotiating table, and urged Hamas to free Israeli hostages.

“What we are seeing every day in Gaza is devastating. We have seen reports of families eating leaves or animal feed. Women giving birth to malnourished babies with little or no medical care, and children dying from malnutrition and dehydration,” Harris said, citing the deaths of dozens of Palestinians amid Israeli gunfire and panic at Gaza food lines.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” said Harris.

Her comments came at a critical moment in the Israel-Hamas war.

…Israel disowns Gantz’s visit

On Monday, Benny Gantz, a key member of Israel’s war cabinet and one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most prominent political rivals, was in Washington, DC, holding meetings with high-level US officials that will include Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Gantz’s three-day trip to the US capital has rankled some of Netanyahu’s allies. Dudi Amsalem, Minister of Regional Cooperation and a member of Netanyhau’s Likud party, said Gantz’s visit was in “total violation of government regulations” and accused Gantz of attempting to “stop the IDF from winning the war and create an opportunity to lead the process of establishing a Palestinian state that will eliminate the State of Israel!”

Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported that Netayahu was not aware of Gantz’s plans and had instructed the Israeli embassy in Washington not to facilitate the visit. But Gantz said he personally informed Netanyahu of his plans to visit Washington DC over the weekend, according to a statement from his office. CNN has reached out to Netanyahu’s office for comment.

Since the war began, Gantz’s National Unity party has steadily climbed in the opinion polls while Likud has lost ground.