No one, and I do mean no one, does ‘refugee’ like the Palestinians. I stand literally in awe….
Dateline: March 22, 2007 The Electronic IntifadaRAMALLAH, 22 March 2007 (IRIN) - One-third of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are food insecure, according to a report by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
About 34 percent of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12 percent are at risk of reaching this state, the organisations found in a Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment published this month. Most affected is the Gaza Strip, where 51 percent of the population suffers from food insecurity.
“The poorest families are now living a meagre existence totally reliant on assistance, with no electricity or heating and eating food prepared with water from bad sources,” according to a statement by Arnold Vercken, the WFP country director for the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). But an Israeli spokesperson said Palestinian authorities should take more responsibility.
Dateline: February 20, 2009 - The Electronic Intifada
GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Thousands of food-insecure Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are facing an even worse situation after large numbers of livestock and agricultural land were badly damaged or destroyed during Israel’s military assault, which began on 27 December.
The already fragile food situation in Gaza has been seriously aggravated by the conflict, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).
Chicken and meat are now very costly or unavailable, while fresh fruit and vegetables will be unavailable by May due to destroyed crops, according to the World Food Programme (WFP) in Gaza.
An emergency operation was jointly approved by FAO and WFP in January to provide food to 365,000 worst-affected residents in Gaza, including social hardship cases, internally displaced people and farmers to 19 January 2010.
Dateline: May 30, 2010 IRIN News Org
RAMALLAH, 30 May 2010 (IRIN) - The amount and quality of food available to the estimated 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip has been severely restricted by more than 1,000 days of a near-complete blockade, states a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report.
“Sixty-one percent of the Gaza population is food insecure,” said Sarah Leppert, FAO’s communications adviser for the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “There is a diverse range of foods available in Gaza; the problem is people do not have the means to purchase the food due to rising poverty and unemployment, now nearly 39 percent.”
Israel's import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the agriculture sector in Gaza, directly contributing to rising food insecurity, said acting Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt), Philippe Lazzarini, in a joint statement with humanitarian aid agencies, and the Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA), representing more than 80 NGOs on 25 May from Gaza.
Dateline: June 17, 2011 The Guardian:
In a rural area of the central Gaza Strip, Eyad Najjar plucks organic carrots from the sandy soil of his tiny farm. Najjar no longer uses fertilisers or pesticides for his plot, which also grows tomatoes, parsley, rocket, lettuce and spinach. Instead, a fishpond on the field's far edge delivers water rich in nutrients via drip irrigation.
Smiling, Najjar squeezes an almost-ripe fruit hanging from the branch of a lemon tree. "The onions and lemons are bigger and better," he says. But Najjar is not part of a hip, green revolution. In Gaza, organic agriculture has grown out of a concern for safe supplies of food. When Hamas took control in 2007, Israel imposed a crippling blockade. Not only were a number of foods blocked from entering, but stocks of pesticides and fertilisers also dried up. Israeli officials have said militants can use agricultural chemicals to make rockets. Food insecurity among Gaza's 1.6 million people rose, and 80% became reliant on food aid, according to the Word Food Programme. Najjar was one of them.
Dateline: June 3, 2014 UNRWA Press ReleaseFood insecurity in Palestine remains at very high levels, with a third of households – 33 percent or 1.6 million people – food insecure, according to the 2013 annual food security survey, a collaborative effort between the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and United Nations (UN) agencies in the food-security sector.
In Gaza, food-insecurity levels remained at 57 per cent, while in the West Bank, food insecurity remained at 19 per cent – both unchanged from 2012 levels. The high food-insecurity levels in 2012 and 2013 reversed the improvement that took place over the 2009-2011 period, when overall food insecurity in Palestine fell to 27 per cent.
Dateline March 25, 2014 Al-Monitor
Obesity has become prevalent in the Gaza Strip, as confirmed by the increasing demand on dietitians. Ata Qaisi, health care consultant and owner of Gaza City's Diet Center, said obesity can have negative repercussions on a person's life, making him or her more vulnerable to hypertension, diabetes and joint pain. Obese women are also more susceptible to pregnancy complications and miscarriages, according to Qaisi.Qaisi told Al-Monitor that there is a large demand in Gaza for weight-loss programs. “The comfort is in the improvement of the figure and this is what we seek through our programs, which are supposed to be followed through diets and not only by relying on weight loss. When the person finds that the weight has been reduced and the shape has been improved, his or her entire life completely changes. This is how people find comfort in their hearts and minds,” he said.Qaisi said that many Palestinians have consulted weight-loss centers, either in a bid to treat obesity or just to shed a few pounds ahead of a social event. Only five weight-loss centers can be found in the Gaza Strip, according to Qaisi. Statistics on the number of nutritionists in Gaza are unavailable.Some people consume herbal supplements or take pills to lose weight in a short period of time, said Qaisi, yet this often results in complications and does not help individuals lose weight. Qaisi estimated that women represent 95% of weight-loss program clients.In the Gaza Strip, a high proportion of people suffer from obesity. “Only 18% to 25% of the Strip’s residents have a normal weight," he said. "The rest are suffering from obesity because of the nature of our life pattern, in addition to the unbalanced social lifestyle, bad eating habits, food traditions and dessert consumption.”He added, “Such a large proportion is the result of common diseases such as diabetes, stress, cancer and rheumatism. If, for example, the proportion of patients with high blood pressure is 30% of the population, know that 97% of them are due to obesity and the rest are due to accidental causes.”Suhail al-Qishawi, an endocrinology and diabetes consultant, told Al-Monitor that obesity puts one at risk for Type 2 diabetes, as do other factors such as lack of exercise, age and genetics.“Obesity is now classified as a disease that results in high blood pressure, because it is often associated with the pancreas producing less insulin due to the fat on the organ. This causes diabetes among obese persons. Patients with Type 2 diabetes in the Gaza Strip represent more than 95% of patients with diabetes in general, which means that around 95% of diabetes patients got it as a result of obesity,” he said.Despite the deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip, residents’ awareness of the danger of obesity has pushed many to seek out the services of weight-loss centers to help them overcome the disease.
Imagine being the first to bring Jenny Craig to the Gaza Strip...the possibilities are endless.