Gaza mill making flour out of bird feed as severe food shortages grip enclave

Gazans have resorted to using animal feed as flour to make bread as dire food shortages worsen

Gazans have resorted to milling animal feed for flour as food insecurity worsens throughout the besieged enclave.

Mohamed Khalidy, the owner of a mill in the north of Gaza, explained that locals began bringing him animal feed in order to stretch flour supplies.

Mr Khalidy said: “One of the most prominent obstacles is that there is no wheat to be ground now, and we are now on the verge of famine. If no wheat, aid, or flour is brought in, we are on the verge of famine.”

The price of fuel has been another obstacle in running the mill.

“We're working on diesel. If it is available in the black market, a 20-litre tank is sold for 600 shekels, which is approximately thirty shekels per litre," he said.

"The international price is less than one dollar, but here in Gaza, the price of one litre is more than ten dollars."

Abdul Majeed Salman, a displaced local from the Jabalia Camp, said he is forced to bring grains fed to animals due to flour shortages.

He said: "We grind wheat, barley, and corn, we are forced to do this, as there is no alternative. This is food for birds and animals. There is no other alternative.

"Everything is expensive, and there are no jobs and no way for one to work to earn money."

Four months since the escalation of hostilities in Gaza, severe food shortages, a breakdown in health services and inadequate facilities of water are triggering deep concern over the risk of malnutrition.

Aid is not reaching everyone, and shortages of basic goods have caused prices to skyrocket.

With Gaza's economy decimated, few Palestinians have regular incomes and most are either depleting their savings or subsisting on handouts.

Infants in Gaza are at severe risk of malnutrition. Credit: AP

At the highest risk are newborns, with UNICEF estimating that 20,000 infants up to six months-old need formula.

One mother, Zainab al-Zein, is forced to feed her four month-old baby crushed biscuits and ground rice instead of formula.

Babies who are given solid food too early are at higher risk of developing certain chronic diseases.

So for Zainab al-Zein, this has meant frequent trips to the local hospital, which, like the larger health system in Gaza, is under immense strain.

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