Hungry Gazans Eat Wild Plant to Survive

05:00 March 26, 2024

Hungry Gazans Eat Wild Plant to Survive

The United Nations Security Council is demanding an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

Some members are concerned that a famine might have begun.

The territory’s civilians are reportedly eating a wild plant called Khobiza because they lack other food to eat. The plant is an herb known as mallow.

The Palestinian area has faced five months of war following the October attack on Israel by its Hamas rulers. Israeli officials say the terrorist group killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages.

Israel responded to the attack by launching air strikes and shelling in Gaza. Hamas’ health officials in Gaza say 32,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict. It is the worst conflict between Israel and Hamas.

“All our lives -- even through (previous) wars -- we have not eaten Khobiza,” said a Palestinian woman named Maryam Al-Attar.

She said, “My daughters tell me, 'We want to eat bread, mother.' My heart breaks for them.”

Al-Attar continued, “I can't find a piece of bread for them. I go and gather some Khobiza. We have found Khobiza for now, but in the future, where will we get it from? Khobiza will run out. Where do we turn?”

The war is continuing during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Millions of Muslims around the world enjoy big meals after sunset with their families and watch special television shows.

“We have been consumed by hunger. We have nothing to eat. We crave vegetables, fish, and meat. We fast with empty stomachs. We can no longer fast. We are dizzy from hunger,” said Umm Mohamed. She said there was nothing to help the body deal with fasting during Ramadan.

The Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a website that examines food and security. It says famine is likely to begin by May in northern Gaza. A severe lack of food could spread across the rest of the area by July.

Reports say that Khobiza will only provide temporary help. The aid situation for Gaza is also not clear. Negotiators are working on the terms of a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

Recently, an Israeli government spokesperson said Israel will stop working with the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza strip. It is the largest aid group in Gaza. Israel says the aid agency is causing the conflict to go on longer.

Israel in January accused 12 of UNRWA’s 13,000 workers in Gaza of taking part in the October 7 attack. That led several donor countries to stop giving financial support to the group.

UNRWA dismissed some of its workers. It said it acted in order to protect the agency’s ability to provide aid in Gaza. And an independent internal U.N. investigation was launched.

I’m Gregory Stachel.

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