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"Famine could happen" south of Gaza amid Israel-Hamas war, Cindy McCain says

McCain: "Famine could happen" south of Gaza
"Famine could happen" in south of Gaza amid Israel-Hamas war, Cindy McCain says 05:44

Cindy McCain, the executive director of the World Food Programme, said Sunday the south of Gaza is "right on the edge" of famine amid the war between Israel and Hamas

"That's why we need to stop this so that we can get in at scale with our aid and other aid from other organizations as well. We can't continue this in a way, because what almost happened in the north with famine could happen in the south," McCain said Sunday on "Face the Nation."

McCain said on May 3 that northern Gaza was in "full-blown famine" after more than six months of war between Israel and Hamas. "There is famine, full-blown famine," in the north, and it's moving its way south," she said then.

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked about McCain's assessment of famine in northern Gaza, he said "Cindy McCain, unfortunately, is misinformed." Israel has repeatedly denied famine is occurring in Gaza and disputed claims it has weaponized hunger in its war against Hamas.

Cindy McCain on "Face the Nation," June 9, 2024. CBS News

McCain said Sunday that now, more than a month later, more aid has been transported into northern Gaza.

"When I made that comment, my people had seen it on the ground, not only evidence of it, but the actual impact of it. Since then, they've allowed us to get more trucks into the north, and so we're getting much more food up there," McCain said.

But Israel has also been expanding its invasion in Gaza's southern city of Rafah, where humanitarian aid efforts once primarily operated. The heightened Israeli offensive in southern Gaza has halted the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians facing hunger.

In an interview with Time magazine this week, President Biden was asked whether he's seen evidence of Israeli war crimes in Gaza amid accusations. "The answer is it's uncertain and has been investigated by the Israelis themselves," Mr. Biden said. Dismissing the idea Israel was starving people as part of its war strategy, Mr. Biden also admitted "I think they've engaged in activity that is inappropriate."

The Israeli raid in Nuseirat camp in central Gaza on Saturday, which led to the rescue of four Israeli hostages, was the largest rescue operation since Hamas and other militants attacked Israel on October 7. 

According to the Hamas-run Gaza's Health Ministry, at least 274 Palestinians were killed and hundreds more were wounded. The Israeli military said "under 100" Palestinians were killed, though it was not clear how many of them were militants or civilians.

McCain said the World Food Programme has paused its operations in the newly repaired American-built pier after two of their warehouses were struck on Saturday and one man was injured.

"Well, right now we're paused because I'm concerned about the safety of our people after the incidents yesterday," McCain said. "We've stepped back just for the moment to make sure that we're on safe terms and on safe ground before we'll restart. But the rest of the country is operational. We're doing everything we can in the north and the south."

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