Mahmoud Fattouh dies from starvation as UN warns of an ‘explosion’ in child deaths due to a lack of food and water.

A two-month-old Palestinian boy has died from starvation in northern Gaza, according to media reports, days after the United Nations warned of an “explosion” in child deaths due to Israel’s war on the besieged enclave.

The Shehab news agency said Mahmoud Fattouh died at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on Friday.

Footage, verified by Al Jazeera, shows the emaciated infant gasping for breath in a hospital bed.

One of the paramedics who rushed the boy to the hospital says Mahmoud died from acute malnutrition.

“We saw a woman carrying her baby, screaming for help. Her pale baby seemed to be taking his last breath,” the paramedic says in the video.

“We rushed him to hospital and he was found to be suffering acute malnutrition. Medical staff rushed him into the ICU. The baby has not been fed any milk for days, as baby milk is totally absent in Gaza.”

Mahmoud’s death came as the Israeli government – which launched its assault on Gaza following attacks by Hamas fighters in October – continues to ignore global appeals to allow more aid into the besieged enclave.

The UN says some 2.3 million people in Gaza are now on the brink of famine.

While Israel – which cut off all supplies of food, water and fuel into Gaza at the start of the war – has opened one entry point for humanitarian aid, agencies say stringent Israeli checks and protests by far-right Israeli protesters at the Kerem Shalom crossing have hampered the entry of food trucks.

When supplies do get through to Gaza, aid workers are not able to pick them up and distribute them due to a lack of security because of Israel’s targeted killings of Gaza policemen guarding the truck envoys.

The situation is particularly desperate in northern Gaza, which has been almost completely cut off from aid since late October.

The World Food Programme tried to resume deliveries to the area last week but announced a suspension two days later citing Israeli gunfire and a “collapse of civil order”. It said its teams witnessed “unprecedented levels of desperation” in the north with hungry Palestinians mobbing trucks to get food.

The agency said it was working to resume deliveries as soon as possible and called for better security for its staff as well as “significantly higher volumes of food” and the opening of crossing points for aid directly into northern Gaza from Israel.

The UN has meanwhile warned of a steep rise in malnutrition among children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women in the Gaza Strip, saying its assessments indicate that 15 percent, or one in six, children under two years of age in northern Gaza were acutely malnourished.

“The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths, which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza,” said Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s deputy executive director for humanitarian action, in a statement last week.

“We’ve been warning for weeks that the Gaza Strip is on the brink of a nutrition crisis. If the conflict doesn’t end now, children’s nutrition will continue to plummet, leading to preventable deaths or health issues which will affect the children of Gaza for the rest of their lives and have potential intergenerational consequences,” he said.

Before the war, only 0.8 percent of children under five in Gaza were considered acutely malnourished, the UN said.

“Such a decline in a population’s nutritional status in three months is unprecedented globally.”


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