6 August 2014 | Issue No. 29
- In less than one month of military escalation, UNRWA lost eleven colleagues in Gaza. Flags on all UNRWA buildings will be flown at half-mast to honor our lost colleagues.
- The temporary ceasefire, which will expire Friday 8 August 2014 at 08:00 unless extended, is holding.
- Despite the temporary cessation of hostilities, there will be no ‘back to normal’ for Gaza unless there is a political solution. The Israeli blockade on Gaza needs to be lifted. Entire neighborhoods turned into ghost towns, covered in rubble and the smell of decomposing bodies. With up to thirty percent of Gaza’s population displaced, an estimated 65,000 people have no home to return to.
- There are at least 187,000 displaced Palestinians in 90 UNRWA shelters. The numbers remain fluid, with displaced reportedly returning to the UNRWA shelters after having visited their homes to get personal items. Some return to the UNRWA shelters as they have nothing to eat, or come back if they find their homes destroyed or uninhabitable, or feel unsafe.
- The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) assessed four UNRWA schools yesterday in Gaza City for unexploded ordnance (UXO). Priority will be given to UXO clearance of UNRWA installations in the former three kilometer buffer zone, so that these facilities can be re-opened soon.
Past 24 hours: The 72-hours ceasefire is holding. The IDF withdrew from the Gaza Strip and declared an up to 500 meter-wide ‘no go zone’ on the Gaza side of the border. An Israeli delegation and a Palestinian delegation, including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are currently in Cairo to negotiate a permanent agreement. In an interview with the BBC, US Secretary of State John Kerry was asked whether he supported Palestinian demands for a lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza. He said: "What we want to do is support the Palestinians in their desire to improve their lives and to get food in and to open crossings and to reconstruct and have greater freedom." This, he said, had to come "with a greater responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets".
In less than one month of military conflict, UNRWA lost eleven colleagues in Gaza. Starting on Wednesday 6 August and until Saturday 9 August, flags on all UNRWA buildings will be flown at half-mast to honor these colleagues. The UNRWA staff members are: Fatma A. Rahim Abu Amouna, 54, a teacher; Inas Shaban Derbas, 30, a teacher; Mohammed A. Raouf Al-Dadda, 39, a teacher; Ismail A. Qader El-Kujk, 53, an environmental-health worker; Farid Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 50, a teacher; Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Ahmed, 51, a school principal; Munir Ibrahim El Hajjar, a social worker; Medhat Ahmed Al Amoudi, 53, a labourer, and Abdallah Naser Khalil Fahajan, 21, a school attendant. Two UNRWA contractors employed under the Agency’s Job Creation Programme have been killed while on duty in UNRWA’s shelters: Adel Mohammad Abu Qamar, a guard, and Hazim Abdelbasit Abu Hellal, a guard.
Like all Palestinians in Gaza, UNRWA staff have lost family members and friends, have their homes destroyed or shelter the displaced. One of UNRWA’s staff members in Rafah lost his two children, twelve and five years old, shortly after a previous temporary ceasefire expired. The family was displaced, but the children insisted on returning home to feed their doves and were killed in an airstrike. Despite all the personal losses, with the temporary ceasefire holding, UNRWA staff continue to work round the clock to resume full core operations and continue ongoing emergency operations.
The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) assessed four schools yesterday in Gaza City for unexploded ordnance (UXO). The schools were damaged during the shelling of the neighboring police station. Priority will be given to UXO clearance of UNRWA installations in the former three kilometer buffer zone, including schools, health clinics, distribution centers and relief, microfinance, maintenance and sanitation offices, so that these facilities can be opened again.
The number of Palestinians killed stands at 1,843, with 29 new fatalities reported by the Protection Cluster. Among the new reported fatalities, there are four boys, four girls and three women. 85 per cent of Palestinian fatalities are believed to be civilians (excluding those whose bodies could not be identified or their status is undetermined). The Ministry of Health reports that 9,567 were injured. During the conflict, 67 Israelis were killed, including 64 soldiers, two civilians and one foreign national.
- UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, continued to distribute both potable and non-potable water to emergency shelters at a time when there is almost no electricity and the water network is severely damaged. Over the reporting period, 541 cubic meters of potable water were trucked to UNRWA shelters, bringing the potable water supply to about 1.9 liters per person per day, excluding bottled water supplied through partners. Significant improvements in potable water supply were made in Gaza and in the Middle Area, with the Middle Area potable water supply reaching 3.2 liters per person per day and Gaza reaching 2.5 liters per person per day. In the North, due to lack of suppliers and high number of IDPs, potable water supply only reached 1.1 liters per person per day. 641 cubic meters of non-potable water was trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the UNRWA shelters. Some shelters benefit from UNRWA wells and municipal water sources. Over the reporting period, UNRWA’s 11 water wells in Jabalia, Beach, Khan Younis and Rafah Camps supplied a total of 11,890 cubic meters, including to UNRWA shelters.
- Over the reporting period, UNRWA delivered 25 truckloads of NFIs (diapers and hygiene kits), 17 water tanks as well as 96 truckloads of food to shelters. Food to shelters is provided in cooperation with WFP.
- UNRWA’s food distribution to a total caseload of over 830,000 beneficiaries continued. Food rations were provided to 2,418 families through 10 out of 12 distribution centers.
- UNRWA also continued to provide its logistics capacity to supply fuel to municipalities, water, sanitation and health facilities through the WASH and Health clusters (led by UNICEF and WHO). 21,724 liters were delivered to UNICEF for the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) and 47,000 liters were provided to WHO to support Gaza’s health delivery system.
- Of UNRWA’s Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department, 243 sanitation staff members and 314 Palestinians employed under the Job Creation Programme (JCP) reported to work. They removed a total of 366 tonnes from all Gaza camps, including 24 tonnes of waste from Burej and Maghazi camps which are located within the former three kilometer buffer zone. UNRWA maintenance staff continue to undertake critical repair work in UNRWA installations, including plumbing and electrical works in shelters.
- 14 of 21 health centers were operating. 78 per cent of the staff were able to report to work, and 16,726 patients were served.
- On 5th August, 104 UNRWA counselors reported to work, covering all shelters. So far, UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Programme has served almost 77,000 parents and engaged almost 84,000 children in recreational activities. UNRWA also cooperates with partners, providing additional support to almost 6,000 displaced and to over 40,500 children.
Summary of Major Incidents
Reportedly, before the start of the temporary ceasefire at 0800hrs, there were 20 rockets fired towards Israel. There were also reports that 15 air-to-ground missiles were fired into Gaza in addition to 5 navy shells. 8 tank shells were fired from the border area into populated areas. Reportedly, no houses were bombarded.
Two additional UNRWA installations were reported damaged during the conflict. UNRWA estimates that 98 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification.
Two days after its release on 31 July, the planning scenario of the revised UNRWA flash appeal had already been overtaken by events on the ground. In its second revision, the Agency asks for a total of US$ 187.6 million in order to provide emergency assistance for 250,000 people displaced.
More information on the revised appeal can be found here
- The Rafah crossing was open for foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians.
- Erez was open for humanitarian cases and international staff.
- Kerem Shalom crossing was open.