FACT CHECK: Post About UN Halving Estimates Of People Killed In Gaza Lacks Context

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

MSNBC host and former Florida Republican congressman Joe Scarborough claimed in an X post that the United Nations (UN) has halved estimates of women and children killed in Gaza. 

Verdict: Unsubstantiated 

The actual number of reported fatalities remains unchanged. 34,622 fatalities have been reported, 24,686 of which were fully documented, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health.

Fact Check:

After being delayed due to weather, the U.S. has completed the installation of a pier to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians that was ordered two months ago, according to The Guardian.

A post by Scarborough claims the UN has halved the number of women and children killed in Gaza during the Israel-Hamas war.

“UN halves estimates of women and children killed in Gaza. Apparently, the Hamas figures repeatedly cited are false,” the post reads. It includes a link to an article from the Jerusalem Post titled, “UN seemingly halves estimate of Gazan women, children killed.”

Scarborough’s post is lacking vital context, however. First, the UN did not halve estimates. A spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs explained that the “overall number of fatalities” reported has not changed.

“The overall number of fatalities tallied by the Ministry of Health in Gaza remain unchanged, at more than 35,000 people since October 7th. However, the Ministry has updated the breakdown of fatalities for whom full details have been documented,” the spokesperson said.

“According to the Ministry, the fatalities for whom full details have been documented include 7,797 children, 4,959 women, 1,924 elderly, and 10,006 men,” the spokesperson added. 

The Jerusalem Post article further shows May 8 figures show 34,844 people had reportedly been killed and 24,686 of those people had been identified. It adds that these identified fatalities were 40 percent men, 32 percent children and 20 percent women.

Tal Hagin, an independent researcher who focuses on fact-checking, wrote a X thread explaining the difference between those reported and identified. (RELATED: X Image Falsely Claims To Show American Jewish Soldier Fighting In The Israel-Hamas War)

“Reported: The figures of deaths that have been reported to the MOH,” one post in the thread says, urging readers to view the Gaza Ministry of Health Telegram for a more detailed explanation. “Identified: Several parameters need to be met to be considered ‘Identified’ according to the Gazan MOH.”

A UN spokesperson emphasized to Check Your Fact via email that the numbers are provided by the Health Ministry in Gaza and the UN cannot independently verify them.

“The United Nations teams on the ground in Gaza are unable to independently verify those figures, given the prevailing situation on the ground and the sheer volume of fatalities,” the spokesperson said. “It is for this reason that all figures used by the UN clearly cite the Health Ministry in Gaza as the source.”

The Associated Press explained in a Nov. 6, 2023 article that the “ministry never distinguishes between civilians and combatants.”

Check Your Fact reached out to MSNBC for comment.

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter