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World Food Programme Halts Deliveries to Northern Gaza Amid Unsafe Conditions

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The World Food Programme announced on Tuesday that it will be temporarily halting aid deliveries to northern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people depend on the organization’s assistance for lifesaving nutrition.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement that it's pausing deliveries because conditions were not being met to allow for the safe distribution of aid.

On Sunday, an aid truck was surrounded by crowds of hungry people, and many individuals attempted to climb on board the food trucks and the trucks faced gunfire, according to WFP. On Monday, another truck attempting to deliver aid faced “complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order.” Multiple trucks were looted and a truck driver was badly beaten, and what limited supplies were able to be delivered were handed out "amidst high tension and explosive anger," the statement said.

“The latest reports confirm Gaza’s precipitous slide into hunger and disease. Food and safe water have become incredibly scarce and diseases are rife, compromising women and children’s nutrition and immunity and resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition. People are already dying from hunger-related causes,” the World Food Programme said. "A large-scale expansion of the flow of assistance to northern Gaza is urgently needed to avoid disaster."

Approximately 300,000 people in the area depend on the aid, according to an UNRWA official. The World Food Programme said it will try to "resume deliveries in a responsible manner as soon as possible."

In October, Israel ordered 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to evacuate. Most residents complied with the order, but several hundred thousand either chose to stay or were unable to arrange for safe transport out of the area. Israeli forces have since taken control of the region, and aid deliveries have been sparse depending upon approval from the Israeli Military.

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