Nutrition Vulnerability and Situation Analysis / Gaza (June 2024) – Occupied Palestinian Territory


Key messages

• Nutrition security is about diets, services and care – and all three of these key factors are seriously affected in the Gaza Strip.

• Where humanitarian access has improved, this has contributed to modest improvements in food security indicators and child nutrition (aged 6–23 months). This was clearly visible in the month of April.

• However, recurring and forced population displacement since the start of the conflict continues to negatively impact access and availability. Poor access to the population and the inability of the population to reach services hinder the detection and treatment of children with acute malnutrition. Displacement also has implications for healthcare and practice, as people on the move risk losing their belongings and facing difficult living conditions.

• With the recent displacement in Rafah and the escalation of conflict throughout the Gaza Strip, the diet of young children and pregnant and lactating women has returned and remains of grave concern.

Nutrition situation

The Nutrition Vulnerability Analysis (NVA) covered April to May 2024, with data collected between April 1 and May 24, 2024. In this current NVA, the analysis took into account two major geographic areas separated by the Wadi Gaza: North and South Gaza.1

• According to UNICEF’s latest post-distribution monitoring (PDM) assessment, conducted between May 20 and 24 in the Gaza Strip, 93% of children aged 6 to 23 months had eaten two or fewer food groups in the 24 hours prior to the research. (7% had eaten three or four), while among pregnant and breastfeeding women, 96% had eaten two or fewer food groups. The high levels of deprivation in dietary diversity, and de facto deprivation of micronutrients, can seriously endanger the health of both women and the development of their children.2

• In the Gaza Strip, 85% of parents reported that their children had not eaten for an entire day due to lack of money or other resources, while almost 100% of households reported that they had to skip meals or eat less food to improve their health. to keep the child safe. diet, according to the UNICEF PDM conducted in May 2024.

• Nearly 90% of children under the age of 5 are affected by one or more diseases; 52% have had diarrhea in the past two weeks; and 54% experienced fever between May 7 and 23, based on the World Food Program (WFP) CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviews). Health status remains generally poor and may pose a direct threat to the nutritional status of children under five years of age and other vulnerable population groups, such as children under six months of age, or the elderly.

• Access to healthcare continues to deteriorate due to the continued destruction of health facilities. Despite humanitarian efforts to mitigate these impacts, approximately 60% of the Gaza Strip’s 97 primary health care facilities (PHC) and 73% of 56 hospitals (Static and Field) remain non-functional or partially functional under dire conditions. 3

• Household access to safe water remains very limited. According to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster, available water supply is estimated at only 2 to 9 liters per capita per day (l/c/d), compared to 85 l/c/d before October 2023. WFP CATI found that approximately 80% of households listed “water” as a priority. This situation is particularly worrying for formula-fed babies and poses a proven risk for an increase in infectious diseases, including diarrhea and hepatitis A.

• Despite limited progress in humanitarian access, a modest improvement was reflected in food security indicators in April. However, such improvement depends on regular and continued access to and availability of food and health care services. In April, access to and scaling up basic services certainly led to a stabilization of the nutritional situation in the South.

• The displacement of more than 1 million people in the South and military ground operations in the North have reduced the small gains made in April through closures, service disruptions and relocation of feeding sites in shelters, health services and hospitals. • In the North, access to nutrition services was still limited in early April, but improved by the end of the month due to sporadic humanitarian access, which enabled prevention activities to be initiated, as well as early detection and treatment of acute malnutrition.

Nutritional information system

• The conflict and population displacement in Gaza are very dynamic. Collecting and reporting data is still a huge challenge due to persistent insecurity and associated access issues.

• Thanks to the efforts of all partners, data collection in South Gaza improved in March and April 2024. In South Gaza, despite the movement of populations from Rafah to Khan Younis and the Central areas in May, and the relocation of humanitarian aid organizations, partners managed to continue screening and data collection remotely. In Northern Gaza, access challenges negatively affected the delivery of services and disrupted ongoing nutrition programs. This in turn made it difficult to ensure that at-risk children were screened early and regularly for care, reducing the availability of anthropometric data in March and April. However, in late April, nutrition partners in northern Gaza managed to provide nutritional screening and treatment services and restart anthropometric data collection. Additional data collected between May 12 and 25 in both North Gaza and Gaza City were made available and both datasets were used to estimate the nutritional situation in North Gaza. Data quality is generally improving and secondary data is available to monitor the situation.

• Nutrition Cluster partners have explored alternative methods for generating nutritional evidence depending on different scenarios. When the situation permits, more accepted, traditional investigations should be performed. While this would represent only one moment in time, it would at least provide a baseline picture of the nutritional status of children across Gaza that the humanitarian community can use to plan and expand services.

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