FAO: Gaza in nutritional crisis
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FAO: Gaza in nutritional crisis

ROME (JTA) — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said that farms in the Gaza Strip suffered widespread destruction in the recent conflict with Israel.

Residents are facing "an acute shortage of nutritious, locally-produced and affordable food," FAO said in a statement released Friday by its headquarters in Rome.

"Almost all of Gaza’s 13,000 families who depend on farming, herding and fishing have suffered damage to their assets during the recent conflict and many farms have been completely destroyed."  This, it said, "has worsened ongoing problems of food production caused by 18 months of border closure." It added, "Meat and animal protein is generally unavailable."

Israel shut down Gaza in 2007 in a bid to stop rocket attacks; last month’s war was triggered when Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza, ended a fragile cease-fire with a barrage of rockets on southern Israel.

FAO said it plans to implement a $6.5 million emergency aid package for Gazan farmers. This will include the distribution of seeds, seedlings, fertilizers, feed and veterinary kits as well as aid to repair damaged infrastructure.