Food insecurity in Palestine remains at high levels with 1.6 million people's food insecure, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and United Nations agencie.
According to the report, food insecurity levels in Gaza remained at 57 percent, while in the West Bank, it remained at 19 percent, both unchanged from 2012 levels.
The survey was conducted by the PCBS, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The high food insecurity levels in 2012 and 2013 reversed the improvement that took place over the 2009-2011 period, when overall food insecurity in Palestine fell to 27 percent, said the report.
"Although refugees in the West Bank experienced some improvement in their food insecurity situation (from 23 to 20 percent), rates of food insecurity remain higher for refugees than non-refugees, at 20 percent and 19 percent respectively," the survey revealed.
The results showed that food insecurity rates in West Bank refugee camps remain higher than these in both urban and rural areas.
In Gaza, refugees continue to report lower food insecurity rates than non-refugees (54 percent compared to 63 percent for non- refugees), due to the assistance provided by the UN and other entities.
The study also found out that food insecurity in Palestine is driven by high rates of poverty resulting from unemployment, which is in part due to ongoing Israeli access and movement restrictions, as well as high prices for food and economic shocks.
Figures indicated that the blockade on Gaza since 2007 continues to stifle the local economy and prevents any meaningful recovery of the most productive sectors.
The survey concluded that the high rates of food insecurity in Palestine coincide with an ongoing decrease in funding for critical UN programs such as food, agriculture.
"Food insecurity in Palestine can only be sustainably improved by addressing the root causes of the crisis, such as the ongoing blockade on Gaza and access restrictions in the West Bank," the report said.