UK foreign minister warns of 'real' Gaza famine threat

UK foreign minister warns of 'real' Gaza famine threat
Britain's foreign minister has warned that the prospect of famine in Gaza "is real" as aid trickles in in small quantities amid Israel's ongoing bombardment.
2 min read
Several Palestinians have already died of starvation in Gaza [Getty]

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron on Sunday warned the "prospect of famine is real" in Gaza, as a Royal Navy ship headed to the Mediterranean to help set up a maritime aid corridor.

Cameron said Britain was working with the United States, Cyprus and others to set up a "new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to get aid in as quickly and securely as possible".

"We need to continue to explore all options, including by sea and air, to ease the desperate plight of some of the world's most vulnerable people," he said.

Cyprus has vowed to continue with the humanitarian corridor despite the killing in an Israeli strike of seven aid workers unloading aid in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

The seven workers, including three Britons, from the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity were killed on Monday as they left a warehouse having unloaded aid delivered by ship.

The UK also announced £9.7 million for aid, equipment and expertise to help set up the maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza.

A first vessel, organised by the Spanish charity Open Arms and WCK, successfully delivered its cargo to Gaza on March 15 using the corridor. The second left Cyprus on March 30.

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said Monday that preparations were underway for a third voyage and Cyprus was coordinating with the United States, which has sent military engineers to build a port in Gaza to facilitate aid deliveries.

With the situation in Gaza increasingly dire, donors have pursued alternatives including airdrops and maritime shipments.

Live Story

But aid groups have been critical saying airdrops and maritime deliveries cannot make up for the lack of aid being delivered overland, which is at a fraction of its pre-war levels according to the UN.

Israel's unprecedented air and ground offensive has killed at least 33,137 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, and has created a disastrous humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave where people are dying of starvation.

Israel claims it wants to defeat Hamas, which carried out a surprise attack in southern Israel on October 7, resulting in the deaths of around 1,170 people, Israeli figures show. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also took more than 250 hostages, and 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who the army says are dead, some of whom were killed in Israeli fire.

Hamas and the PIJ say the Oct. 7 attack came in response to Israel's blockade of Gaza and Israel's continued aggression against the Palestinian people.