Health Emergency in Palestine

August 9, 2002

On August 7, Palestinian health minister, Riad Al-Za'noun, declared a health emergency due to the fact that nearly 25% of Palestinians under age 5 are suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition.

This state of emergency was announced following the release of a study by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to the report, a "humanitarian emergency" exists, particularly in the Gaza Strip.

The study also concluded that the food emergency was a direct result of Israeli occupation which not only imposes economic deprivation on Palestinian families but also, through such measures as curfews, roadblocks, closures, etc., prevents the delivery and distribution of food.

While taking emergency steps to address the immediate crisis, Health Minister Al-Zal'noun simultaneously called on "the international community to work to end the real reason behind the health deterioration, which is the occupation, the curfew and the Israeli army. Without the real intervention of the world, all our efforts will only be temporary ones."