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Thousands of Gaza Children Under-Nourished


Children suffering from malnutrition in Gaza could face major health hazards if the crisis in Gaza continues, a health expert said. Dr. Itedal Al-Khatib, director of Ard El-Insan medical clinic in Gaza City, said thousands of children in the Gaza Strip were suffering from malnutrition. "We have experienced many difficult times, but this is the worst period of our work in 23 years," she told The Media Line. More than 5,000 children are registered with the center and are classified as malnourished, due to lack of food intake, poverty or poor education of the mothers, she said...

[35825]



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Thousands of Gaza Children Under-Nourished

Rachelle Kliger, The Media Line

palestinian_malnourishment.jpg

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Children suffering from malnutrition in Gaza could face major health hazards if the crisis in Gaza continues, a health expert said.

Dr. Itedal Al-Khatib, director of Ard El-Insan medical clinic in Gaza City, said thousands of children in the Gaza Strip were suffering from malnutrition.

"We have experienced many difficult times, but this is the worst period of our work in 23 years," she told The Media Line.

More than 5,000 children are registered with the center and are classified as malnourished, due to lack of food intake, poverty or poor education of the mothers, she said.

The center treats children by providing them with supplements, food fortification, special milk formula and medication.

"Now, because of the tight closure, we are lacking medication, gluten-free flour for celiac cases, milk and special formula. The border is closed and we cannot receive the commodities from the border," she said.

Israel closed the main crossing with Gaza after the hard-line Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in June.

Karni Crossing, the main cargo crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, is partially closed down at the moment, because security coordination became too complicated. There is a limited passage of foodstuff at one area of Karni, which involves fewer security risks.

Two other crossings, Sufa and Kerem Shalom, are open. A spokesman for the Israeli army in Gaza said the army was facilitating the passage of food supplies and medication into the Gaza Strip through these passages.

However, Al-Khatib said the volume was not large enough to meet the demand and there were delays at the borders.

As a result, children were not gaining weight and the center was running out of emergency stock. In some cases, the mothers were also malnourished, she said. If the situation continued, the center might face closure, she added.

Ard El-Insan is a non-governmental organization which has no political affiliation and is open to everybody, she said.

"The children we are working with cannot survive without our help. The families have also changed the type of food and they are reducing the number of meals they give their children, so we will have more malnourished children and more crises in Gaza," Al-Khatib said.

Copyright © 2007 The Media Line. All Rights Reserved.


:: Article nr. 35825 sent on 30-aug-2007 23:15 ECT

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Link: www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=18811



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