Head of USAID Says Palestinians in North Gaza Are Already Experiencing Famine

Despite the acknowledgment, the US continues to support the Israeli siege that is causing the famine

Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said on Wednesday that some parts of northern Gaza are already experiencing famine, which has been created by Israel’s US-backed bombardment and siege of the Strip.

Power made the comments in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing when asked about a cable sent by USAID to other US government agencies that said famine was already likely taking place in parts of northern Gaza and called the spread of hunger in disease “unprecedented in modern history.”

Power said the cable was based on a report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and told lawmakers the assessment was credible. When asked if that meant famine was already occurring in northern Gaza, replied, “Yes.”

“Food has not flowed in sufficient quantities to avoid this imminent famine in the south, and these conditions that are giving rise already to child deaths in the north,” Power said.

Despite a top US official acknowledging that famine is occurring in Gaza, the US continues to support Israel’s genocidal campaign. President Biden has refused to call for a ceasefire that’s not linked to a hostage deal with Hamas, as he walked back comments that suggested he was calling for a unilateral truce to get more aid into Gaza.

Last week, Israel said that it would take steps to increase the flow of aid into Gaza, including the opening of the Erez border crossing into northern Gaza and allowing shipments to come through Israel’s port of Ashdod. But neither commitment has been implemented, and the UN is disputing Israel’s claim that it’s been allowing more trucks into southern Gaza.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Thursday that at least 33,545 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in Gaza since October 7. The total includes over 14,000 children and is considered a low estimate since it doesn’t account for the thousands of people dead under the rubble. Experts believe if conditions don’t change, the death toll could reach 100,000 by August as a result of military action, starvation, and disease.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.