The most basic of human needs become a daily struggle for survival. This is the stark reality in northern Gaza, where the United Nations has reported a critical shortage of supplies resulting in the closure of all bakeries.
A fundamental lifeline for many, bread, is now beyond reach for the civilians caught in the crossfire of an ongoing military offensive.
The Breadline Standstill
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued a dire update: no bakeries are operational in northern Gaza due to the absence of essential resources such as fuel, water, and wheat flour.
Compounding this crisis, many bakeries have also been damaged. The scarcity of wheat flour has reached a point where people have taken to breaking into the few remaining bakeries to secure what little is left, with approximately 38 metric tons of flour being seized by desperate residents.
This shortage is not confined to the north alone. In southern Gaza, the single functioning mill can no longer process wheat, crippled by the ongoing electricity and fuel shortages. Since October 11, Gaza has grappled with severe electricity blackouts after Israel cut power and fuel supplies.
This action precipitated the shutdown of Gaza's only power plant, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.
The Fuel and Bread Dilemma
The blockade on fuel entry is maintained by Israeli authorities, who contend that Hamas, the governing body of Gaza, would divert any fuel for military purposes.
This situation has led to a significant reduction in the number of operational bakeries. As of the latest reports, 11 bakeries have suffered hits and destruction since early October, leaving only a handful in the south to intermittently provide bread to the populace.
When bread does sporadically become available, people are forced to queue for hours, often at the risk of exposure to airstrikes. This not only underscores the dangers faced by civilians in their quest for food but also highlights the severe infrastructural damages that have taken place.
Although 9,000 tons of wheat grain are stored in mills within Gaza, a considerable portion is unreachable due to destruction and the prevailing security concerns. This account paints a grim picture of the realities faced by the people of Gaza.
The quest for bread, a staple as old as civilization itself, has become a perilous endeavor. As the world watches, the residents of Gaza continue to face the uncertainty of war, with the added burden of securing their next meal under the looming threat of conflict.