19 July 2014 | Issue No. 11
On 7 July, in response to escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, UNRWA declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. The number of displaced people has since gone beyond the peak number from the 2008/9 conflict, and now exceeds 50,000 in 44 UNRWA schools in addition to thousands more who are displaced due to the conflict. UNRWA has launched an emergency flash appeal for US$ 60 million to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.
Past 24 hours: It has been another devastating day for Gaza that saw a doubling of the number of internally displaced people sheltering in UNRWA schools. By 08:00, 44 shelters had been opened across the Gaza Strip to accommodate more than 50,000 men, women and children who have fled their homes due to violence.
The catastrophic situation in the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours did not go unnoticed by the international community. Yesterday, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, briefed the Security Council on the latest developments stating that the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was “prepared to do his part” to help the parties end the violence and find a way forward. The Secretary-General will leave for the Middle East today to express solidarity with Palestinians and Israelis and to help bolster regional and international efforts for a solution.
There is grave fear of increased suffering of the population due to ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA remains deeply concerned over the increased vulnerability of all Gazans and threats to the organization’s capacity to support additional displacement. UNRWA had relief supplies in stock for about 35,000 people, and whilst it is now procuring additional supplies, the Agency remains critically short of funds. UNRWA is in danger of running out of basic stocks of mattresses and other vital supplies as early as tomorrow.
The Agency is also facing challenges in accessing some shelters because of security concerns in surrounding areas. UNRWA closely monitors the security situation in all of the five areas to ensure the safety and security of IDPs as well as that of UNRWA staff. At the moment, due to ongoing bombardments, it has become extremely challenging to deliver supplies to Beit Hanoun in the very north of the Gaza Strip where 2,500 people are taking shelter in UNRWA facilities. Efforts are ongoing to undertake the delivery of goods to this area but access has so far been denied by the Israeli authorities.
According to the Protection Cluster, there were 51 people killed over night, 16 of whom were children – eleven boys and five girls. The total death toll since 8 July has reached 314 people, with the Palestinian Ministry of Public Health reporting about 2,260 injured. At least 70 children are amongst the total dead.
Regular UNRWA operations also continue. Nineteen of 21 health clinics remain operational and all regular UNRWA services are available during normal working hours.
Reportedly, 737 missiles and other projectiles were fired via air, land and sea to the Gaza Strip. There are also reports that 196 rockets and other projectiles were fired towards Israel.
A total of 69 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June 2014.
In the past 24 hours, 4 UNRWA installations were damaged – a microfinance office in Gaza City, and a school in Khan Younis as well as a school in the Middle Area and another in the North Area of Gaza.
UNRWA has launched an emergency flash appeal for US$ 60 million to respond to the urgent and pressing humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, including the thousands who have already fled their homes to seek safety in UNRWA facilities. New funding will enable UNRWA to respond to the immediate shelter, food, health and psychosocial needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs), while replenishing emergency supplies and preparing for vital interventions necessary after a cessation of military activities. The emergency response phase is expected to last for one month, and the early recovery a further three to six months. More information on the appeal can be found here: klickhere.
Kerem Shalom crossing was closed.