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U.S. Aid Experts Warn Gaza Likely Already Experiencing Famine

A group of U.S. government humanitarian experts on Tuesday privately warned fellow officials that the spread of hunger and malnutrition in Gaza amid the U.S.-backed Israeli offensive is “unprecedented in modern history,” famine is likely already occurring in parts of the Gaza Strip and the pace of hunger-releated deaths will “accelerate in the weeks ahead.”

The striking assessment was shared in a cable drafted by officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development and sent to the White House’s National Security Council, State Department offices and diplomatic posts abroad. It reflects outside aid groups’ reading of the desperate situation in Gaza and shows the Biden administration is aware of the risk that the death toll there will rise dramatically as it continues to support Israel’s operation and resist calls for a permanent end to the war.

“An immediate and substantial flow of food, health, nutrition and [sanitation] assistance; expanded humanitarian access; and safe unimpeded passage for humanitarian workers is paramount to addressing Famine conditions in Gaza,” the officials wrote. “While hostilities remain ongoing, however, humanitarians will face considerable challenges in providing life-saving aid and specialized services to those in need in Gaza.”

The dire internal analysis represents a shift from USAID’s public comment on March 18 calling famine “imminent.”

Spokespeople for USAID did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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