Humanitarian workers, doctors describe ‘horrific’ situation in Rafah as Israel intensifies strikes

Aid workers say closing of the Rafah crossing is having a devastating impact.

May 9, 2024, 3:50 PM

Recently, World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain said that “full-blown famine” is occurring in northern Gaza. Additionally, if Israel’s promised ground invasion in Rafah happens, a projected 1.1 million people across Gaza are projected to experience “catastrophic” levels of food insecurity, according to a report from the U.N.-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) initiative.

Israeli forces took control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt early Tuesday and closed it, cutting off one of the most vital entry points for aid into Gaza. Humanitarian workers said there are hundreds of trucks at the border waiting to enter to provide assistance to people inside Gaza who are without sufficient food or water.


“For formula, you need clean water, and clean water is not available right now,” said Alexandra Saieh, head of humanitarian advocacy and policy for the nonprofit Save the Children International, during the Crisis Action media briefing Wednesday. “So, the situation for infants is horrific. We were told by doctors at the hospital, basically when they discharge [a] mother and [a] child, they go back to the shelter and, many times, the infant will die because they’re not getting the sufficient nutrients and mothers are not getting the sufficient nutrients to breastfeed. So, the situation for infants is catastrophic.”

Starving girl in Rafa
Starving girl in Rafa, Gaza

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