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World Food Programme Director Cindy McCain: Northern Gaza is in a 'full-blown famine'

Cindy McCain, the director of World Food Programme, said that the crisis in Northern Gaza is a “horror."
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Cindy McCain, the executive director of the World Food Programme, said she believes there is a "full-blown famine" in northern Gaza.

"Whenever you have conflicts like this, and emotions rage high, and things happen in a war, famine happens," McCain said during an interview with Kristen Welker set to air Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press."

"What I can explain to you is — is that there is famine — full-blown famine — in the north, and it's moving its way south," she said.

Watch the full interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Since mid-March, the United Nations has said famine is "imminent" in Gaza, but has not yet officially stated that it believes famine has struck the state.

In April, Samantha Power, the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development became the first U.S. official to say that it was credible to assess that famine is occurring in portions of Gaza. No other U.S. official has made that assessment.

McCain said that while there has not yet been an official declaration of famine, based on what her organization has seen and experienced on the ground, she believes there is a "full-blown" issue in Gaza.

"It’s horror. It's – You know, it's so hard to look at and it's so hard to hear, also," McCain said in her interview.

She went on to say that she is hopeful for a ceasefire in Gaza so that people can begin to be fed "in a much faster fashion." McCain added that the people in Gaza need "water, sanitation, medicine – it's all part of the famine — the famine issue."

Efforts to provide food aid to Gaza have been met both by political resistance and threats of violence on the ground.

In early March, the U.S. began coordinating food drops into Gaza after more than 100 Palestinians were killed trying to access aid in Northern Gaza. Humanitarian aid groups described the aid as a "drop in the bucket."

World Central Kitchen, a U.S.-based nonprofit group that has distributed over 43 million meals across Gaza, just resumed operations Monday after seven of its aid workers were killed by an Israeli airstrike on April 1.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday that "incremental progress" had been made in Gaza, but called on Israel to allow and facilitate humanitarian aid through land routes.

Guterres urged the international community to “do everything possible to avert an entirely preventable human-made famine."