FOOD prices in besieged Gaza are soaring as a drastic lack of supply forces up the cost of living for hundreds of thousands of families.
Livestock, including cattle and chickens, were killed en masse by Israeli bombing, say suppliers and retailers. Some claim Israel deliberately targeted farm animals.
Further down the processing chain at least 360 factories and workshops were damaged in shelling, including 126 which were destroyed, reports said.
“Most chicken farms have been destroyed. The livestock was either directly killed by Israel’s attacks, or from lack of food and water,” shopkeeper al-Helou, 32, said.
Before Israel’s military operation began in the Gaza strip, one kilo of chicken cost ten Israeli new shekels, or NIS, (£1.71).
With his stocks quickly depleting, Helou charges his customers 15 NIS (£2.56).
Of the livestock not directly hit by airstrikes and shelling, much has been abandoned by farmers and shepherds fleeing the violence, paralysing agricultural and fishing activities and bringing local food production to a halt, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation reported.
Ciro Fiorillo, head of its offices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said half of Gaza’s poultry has been lost, while Gaza’s fishermen have seen their annual catch reduced by 9.3 per cent.
Farming business owner Mohammed Abu Ajwwa said about 500 cows were killed on his farm in eastern Gaza City, costing him about £300,000.
In some parts of the Gaza Strip, the price of eggs has gone up by 40 per cent, potatoes by 42 per cent, and tomatoes by 179 per cent, the UN found.