'I wish death for the children': Father's emotional plea as starvation fears grow in Gaza

The United Nations is warning that as many as one in six children are severely malnourished in northern Gaza, as ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports

A Palestinian father says he would rather see his own children die than suffer from starvation as humanitarian organisations continue to warn of a lack of basic supplies entering the Gaza Strip.

In an emotional message, the man, who was speaking next to the ruined outskirts of Gaza City, said "everyday there's death", adding: "There's no rice, no food, no flour. What did we do to deserve this?"

The United Nations (UN) has said that around 500,000 people currently face starvation in Gaza, while 2.3 million are experiencing acute food shortages, amid Israel's ongoing military offensive in the territory.

The issue of starvation has been made worse by the displacement of millions of people, the agency said, with an estimated 1.5 million now living in the southern city of Rafah - which had a pre-war population of 280,000.

Israel has announced plans to expand its military offensive into the city, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday his war cabinet had been presented plans on how the operation will unfold.

But UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned any expansion of military operations into Rafah "would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programmes".

Melanie Ward, CEO of the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, told ITV News the situation "on the ground in Gaza is catastrophic".

She said: "We're particularly concerned about what's happening in the north of Gaza where no food is getting through anymore.

"And the recent data shows that one in six children under the age of two are now acutely malnourished.

"It's the fastest decline in a population's nutrition status ever recorded. What that means is that children are starving at the fastest rate that the world has ever known."

'The situation on the ground in Gaza is catastrophic,' Melanie Ward, CEO of the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, told ITV News

The development comes as Israel has been accused of failing to comply with an order by the UN to provide urgent aid to people living in the Gaza Strip.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Israel had not listened to a preliminary response it issued in January, which ordered Tel Aviv to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza.

The response followed a South African petition to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), claiming Israel was committing genocide in the territory. Israel denies all of the charges.

Last month, the ICJ ordered Israel to follow six provisional measures, including taking "immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip".

Israel must also submit a report on what it is doing to adhere to the measures within a month, under the orders.

Around 1.5 million people are now living in the city of Rafah, many in refugee camps. Credit: AP

Monday marked a month since the ICJ made the court orders, but it was not clear if Israel had submitted such a report. Israel's Foreign Ministry did not offer an immediate comment on the issue.

The UNHRW said Israel was not adhering to the court on aid provision, citing a 30% drop in the daily average number of aid trucks entering Gaza in the weeks following its ruling.

Additionally, it said Israel was not adequately facilitating fuel deliveries to northern Gaza, and blamed Israel for blocking aid from reaching there.

Israel denies it is restricting the entry of aid and has instead blamed humanitarian organisations operating inside Gaza, claiming hundreds of trucks filled with aid are siting idle on the Palestinian side of main crossing into the territory.

The war between Israel and proscribed-terror group Hamas began last October when Palestinian militants invaded southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around a further 250 hostage.

An Israeli military operation into Gaza has since killed nearly 30,000 people, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

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