"Of course, sadly, this is the predictable consequence of the blockade and of the siege on Gaza. We want, once again, to call for the lifting of the siege on Gaza."

Gaza's economy has foundered under the blockade Israel imposed after the Hamas movement took control of the territory in 2007.

The UN provides food aid to nearly one million Gazans. It defines "abject poor" as those who cannot feed their families, even with UN assistance.

Ging said his agency urgently requires greater funding to fill the growing need.