Middle East

Emaciated Palestinian child dies of severe hunger in Gaza amid Israeli siege, blockade

Yazan al-Kafarneh, 10, died of hunger at Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital in southern city of Rafah

Muhammed Sabry  | 04.03.2024 - Update : 04.03.2024
Emaciated Palestinian child dies of severe hunger in Gaza amid Israeli siege, blockade

GAZA CITY, Palestine 

A 10-year-old Palestinian child has died from severe hunger amid famine due to Israel’s ongoing crippling siege on the Gaza Strip. 

“I lost my child today after 10 days at the hospital due to malnutrition,” the mother of Yazan al-Kafarneh told Anadolu, tears running down her cheeks.

“My son’s health rapidly deteriorated and he lost weight until he became a skeleton,” she said, sitting on the ground at Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to his family, Yazan reached a point where he needed specific food and nutrients to keep him alive after losing so much of his body weight.

His mother never imagined that she would see her child starving to death in her arms.

“My son is now in heaven, but I never imagined that we would reach this stage,” said the mother, whose family was displaced from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza to Rafah in the south. When Israel ordered the one million residents of northern Gaza to move south, human rights groups warned that this, along with a crippling blockade, would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

“My message to the world is to look at Gaza’s children and see how their lives have changed,” the boy’s mother implored.

Israel launched a deadly military offensive, now in its 150th day, on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

At least 30,534 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 72,000 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.  

Starving children

Images and videos of Yazan al-Kafarneh showed the boy lying on a hospital bed with sunken cheeks.

In one video, his father shows a photo of his son looking healthy from before Israel launched its war.

“Today, I lost my son due to lack of food,” his father told Anadolu.

The Palestinian father appealed to the World Health Organization to shed light on Palestinian children suffering from malnutrition in Gaza amid unabated Israeli attacks.

“We hope this war ends soon to let our children eat food and lead a healthy life,” he added.

At least 16 children have died from dehydration and malnutrition in the northern Gaza Strip amid Israel’s siege on the area, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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