Desperation in Gaza: Onions Sell at 50-Times Pre-War Prices Amidst Food Shortages

Residents of Gaza are grappling with soaring food prices as over a million individuals in the Palestinian territory confront the specter of famine.

Since the Israeli invasion in October, it has become routine for displaced Gazans to share images of their shopping hauls, illustrating the steep price hikes amidst food scarcity.

In the city of Rafah, where the majority of Gaza’s population now resides, basic items like onions have surged to 50 times their pre-war prices, while leafy greens such as spinach, jute leaves, and chard, staples in the region, are selling for 25 times their former cost, according to a recent analysis by Christian Aid, a humanitarian organization.

William Bell, Christian Aid’s head of Middle East policy, lamented the dire situation, stating, “Due to a lack of humanitarian access, there is insufficient food available for sustenance, let alone maintaining a healthy diet. Consequently, children in Gaza are succumbing to malnutrition and disease while the world looks away.”

The charity’s findings reveal alarming statistics: a liter of oil now commands £13, up from £4.25 ($5.40) before the conflict, and a 25kg bag of flour, priced around £15 in Rafah, could fetch over £300 in northern Gaza, where humanitarian aid deliveries are scant.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, responsible for monitoring food security, recently warned of an impending famine in northern Gaza, with the entire territory facing significant risk.

Social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram are inundated with posts by Gaza’s residents, highlighting the exorbitant food prices, forcing families to ration meager supplies among themselves.

In one Snapchat post, Mustafa Enshasi expressed frustration, “I don’t know when these merchants are going to stop treating us like we’re citizens of New York – these eight apples I bought today were 56 shekels [£12], just enough for each family member.”

Another user, Almaza Owda, shared her dismay over the price of an apple, costing 6 shekels, the first she had eaten since the conflict began. She also posted a video capturing a delivery truck passing through a displacement camp, with children chasing after it.

In recent days, images and videos have surfaced of children eagerly chasing aid parachuted via controversial airdrops. One video, shared by a user named “daughter of Gaza,” depicts residents cheering as aid descends into their camp, to be consumed to break their Ramadan fasts.

Anonymous aid workers from organizations like Restless Beings have underscored the severity of the crisis, emphasizing the urgent need for better aid delivery and protection for aid workers to ensure food reaches those in need, particularly in northern Gaza, where starvation is rife.

As one aid worker lamented, “They are starving. They are crying, feeling disappointed with the world, that they are watching their miserable situation [and doing nothing].”

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