Gaza Situation Report 25

02 August 2014
Gaza Situation Report 25

2 August 2014 | Issue No. 25

Highlights 

  • UNRWA mourns the loss of the ninth staff member killed since hostilities began. Following the collapse of the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire, there are reports of a large number of fatalities, injuries and massive displacement in Rafah. The UNRWA staff member is amongst those killed. He was 21 years old and worked as a school attendant. 
  • UNRWA opened three new shelters in Rafah, bringing the total number of shelters to 90 for at least 254,000 IDPs. Two days after its release, the numbers reflected in the planning scenario of the revised UNRWA flash appeal have already been exceeded.  
  • At 08:00hrs, UNRWA’s two main warehouses in the Gaza Strip are inaccessible, threatening the continued provision of humanitarian aid, notably food and non-food items. 

General 

Past 24 hours: The 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire which came into effect at 08:00 on the morning of 1 August did not last. According to Israeli sources, hostilities resumed when militants captured one and killed two soldiers in Rafah. UNRWA staff on the ground estimate that up to 80 Gazans were killed and 370 injured during IDF air, tank and artillery shelling, with the total number of killed still to be verified. Gazans from the eastern part of the Governorate fled westwards towards Rafah City and the coast, with a massive movement reported to UNRWA shelters. UNRWA opened three additional schools in Rafah, bringing the total number of IDPs in the Agency’s 90 shelters to at least 254,000. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) maintained positions inside Gaza within the three kilometer buffer zone along the Northern and Eastern border but advanced further westwards in Rafah, including into the area housing one of the two UNRWA main warehouses. With the other UNRWA warehouse in the North already inaccessible as located within the three kilometer buffer zone under effective Israeli control, UNRWA is now forced to coordinate relocation of goods stored in the Rafah warehouse to other locations, potentially to the two UNRWA vocational training centers in Khan Younis and Gaza due to lack of alternative options. Both UNRWA warehouses in Karni and Rafah contain food commodities and non-food items, the Rafah warehouse notably storing the rice supply for over 830,000 people for 12 months. Subsequent to reported damage, UNRWA staff also risked their lives yesterday as they managed to seal the damaged doors of some warehouses in Karni to prevent theft.

With regards to neutrality of UNRWA installations, the Agency notified the IDF in writing that installations within the IDF declared three kilometer buffer zone in Gaza are under effective control of Israel and not accessible by UNRWA staff. UNRWA also informed the IDF that some UNRWA installations outside the declared buffer zone are not accessible by UNRWA personnel. As such, UNRWA cannot assure the neutrality of those installations on a daily basis as done before the current escalation due to the non-permissive environment. 

To date, the total number of killed Palestinians reported by the UN stands at 1,462. This figure has risen by 89 compared to that reported in the previous report (58 men, 9 women, 22 children). 7 out of the 22 children were under 5 years old. 14 people were killed in one single airstrike in Khan Younis. According to preliminary information, more than 65 per cent of the 1,462 killed are civilians (961) and about 13 per cent are reported to be militants (191). The status of the remaining 310 is still undetermined. More than 30 per cent of all reported killings are women and children. The number of wounded, as reported by the Ministry of Health, has reached 8,900.

UNRWA Response

  • The priority continues to be the provision of food, water, hygiene and cleaning items to an ever growing number of displaced in UNRWA shelters. UNRWA, in cooperation with partners, is striving to provide 3 liters of potable water per day to all IDPs sheltered in UNRWA schools. Yesterday, 447 cubic meters of potable water were tankered to schools, providing an average of 1.7 liters per person. In addition, UNRWA and local communities are also providing bottled water to IDPs. Due to the electricity crisis and destruction of water and sanitation infrastructure, many private households and UNRWA shelters have not received tap water for up to two weeks. Over the reporting period, a total of 516 cubic meters of non-potable water were tankered to UNRWA schools by the Agency, UNRWA suppliers and municipalities. With prolonged displacement, UNRWA is also looking into the provision of hot meals of rice and lentils cooked locally in the areas, alternating with the regular rations supplied by UNRWA in coordination with WFP.
  • Over the reporting period, UNRWA delivered 29 truckloads of NFIs (mattresses and cleaning supplies) to UNRWA emergency shelters, as well as 68 truckloads of food in partnership with WFP. UNRWA also supplied fuel for its vehicles and generators in the schools. 
  • On 1 August, 116 UNRWA sanitation laborers and 116 laborers hired under the Agency’s Job Creation Programme reported to work, removing an estimated 238 tonnes of solid waste. No waste can be collected in Maghazi and Bureij Camps, as this lies within the IDF controlled area. 
  • Regular health services and food distribution did not occur during this period due to it being a Friday. 

Summary of Major Incidents

Reportedly there were 85 rockets and 14 mortar shells fired towards Israel. There were also reports that 118 air-to-ground missiles were fired into Gaza in addition to 30 navy shells. 1,085 tank shells were fired from the border area into populated areas. Reportedly, 40 houses were bombarded.

UNRWA Installations

Two additional UNRWA installations were reported damaged during this period, a distribution center and the UNRWA compound in Gaza City. 

An estimated 113 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014, many of them on multiple occasions. UNRWA is still to verify this number when the security situation allows.

Funding Needs

More information on the second revision of the flash appeal can be found here.

Crossings

  • Due to intense fighting, Rafah crossing was intermittently open for foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians. 
  • Erez was closed. 
  • Kerem Shalom crossing was exceptionally open for half an hour but then closed due to the escalation of hostilities in the South. UNRWA received two truckloads of fuel.


 

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