GAZANS ARE BEING STARVED TO DEATH

Vincent Lyn
4 min readMar 20, 2024

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By Vincent Lyn

Let’s dare to say it…IsraHell is provoking famine. It’s not a flood. It’s not an earthquake. It is entirely manmade. EU chief Josep Borrell said this week that, “Gaza is already in a state of famine and Israel is responsible.”

The unprecedented figure of 1.1 million individuals, equivalent to half of Gaza’s population, has reached the dire point of exhausting all food provisions and coping mechanisms, facing an imminent threat of famine and starvation. The notion that Israel is subjecting an entire community to such deprivation amidst our awareness is unfathomable.

Gaza resembles a vast container with four unyielding walls, devoid of any means of escape or assistance. It’s akin to a snow globe encapsulating a populace within grim confines, visible to us as we are to them, yet while we can depart freely, they remain trapped, only finding release in death.

What is it like to starve?

It’s an awful question yet it encapsulates the current urgency. Within what numerous voices at the United Nations deem a “war crime,” which is an understatement. Countless individuals in Gaza endure starvation due to the combined impact of Israeli governmental actions and blockades obstructing food supplies. Among them are the elderly, children, and individuals reduced to mere skin and bones. Emaciated, severely malnourished, they struggle to move and are gripped by desperation for even the smallest sustenance.

People fail to consume sufficient calories to meet the body’s energy requirements. (However, starvation may be delayed if consumable items such as grass, leaves, insects, or rodents become viable sources of sustenance.)

Over prolonged periods, inadequate nutrition can lead to various illnesses, such as anemia due to insufficient iron intake or beriberi resulting from inadequate thiamine consumption.

Prolonged deprivation of food — insufficient caloric intake to sustain the body’s energy requirements — leads to starvation. The body’s reserves are gradually depleted, resulting in significant weight loss, tissue wasting, and ultimately, death.

In response to starvation, the body initiates a survival mechanism. The initial day without food resembles the typical overnight fast between dinner and breakfast, where energy levels are diminished but typically increase with the intake of a morning meal.

Within a matter of days without sustenance, the body initiates self-cannibalization. It begins by depleting its energy reserves — first carbohydrates, then fats, and eventually the protein components of tissues. This process slows down metabolism, impairs temperature regulation, compromises kidney function, and weakens the immune system.

As the body resorts to its reserves to fulfill basic energy requirements, it struggles to provide essential nutrients to vital organs and tissues. Organs like the heart, lungs, ovaries, and testes undergo shrinkage. Muscles waste away, leading to weakness. Body temperature decreases, causing a sensation of chilliness. Irritability sets in, and concentration becomes challenging.

In the absence of any remaining resources, the body turns to muscle tissue for sustenance. “Once protein stores begin to deplete, death becomes imminent. Your body consumes its own muscle mass, including the heart muscle.” In the advanced stages of starvation, individuals may experience hallucinations, seizures, and irregular heartbeats. Ultimately, the heart ceases to function.

How long one can survive without food varies significantly based on factors such as age, body weight, access to water, and underlying health conditions. Mahatma Gandhi, during his nonviolent campaign for India’s independence, sustained himself for 21 days with only occasional sips of water. Studies have shown instances of hunger strikers surviving for as long as 40 days in different regions worldwide.

However, pinpointing an exact number of days a person can endure without food is challenging, as it greatly depends on individual circumstances. Though we know that children are at the most risk smaller and have fewer body-fat stores to draw from.

What astonishes me the most is that despite the bleak and desperate future, death looms at the doorstep in the most agonizing manner possible. In the tight confines of Gaza, the suffering of women and children under an unyielding siege persists as a brutal truth, where lives are taken without restraint and devoid of remorse. Despite this grim situation, the people of Gaza stand firm, resolute in their determination to protect their land, dignity, and right to live with honor. It is disheartening to see the tacit approval or even active support from those in positions of power, enabling the continuation of ethnic cleansing and arbitrary displacement.

As we bear witness to this ongoing tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are fervently with the innocent souls caught in this cycle of suffering. The injustices inflicted upon the Palestinians by their oppressors, particularly the Zionist occupiers and their US backers, are of immense magnitude. In unwavering solidarity, we stand alongside the courageous individuals of Gaza, who confront unimaginable fear and adversity. Their steadfastness is not just an act of defiance but a testament to the enduring spirit of resistance and sacrifice. These are the struggles for liberation that will resonate through history, as they fight for the Holy Land and the sacred city of Jerusalem.

In Gaza and Palestine, it is the courageous and resilient people who serve as the guardians and custodians of their land. While we lament our inability to do more than witness, our hearts ache with every instance of suffering. We offer our prayers and whatever support we can muster, recognizing the significance of even the smallest gesture.

Vincent Lyn

CEO & Founder of We Can Save Children

Deputy Ambassador of International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)

Director of Creative Development at African Views Organization

Economic & Social Council at United Nations (ECOSOC)

Rescue & Recovery Specialist at International Confederation of Police & Security Experts

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Vincent Lyn

CEO-We Can Save Children. Director Creative Development-African Views Organization, ECOSOC at United Nations. International Human Rights Commission (IHRC)