Gaza Situation Report 37

15 August 2014
Jennifer Watson

14 August 2014 | Issue No. 37

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A new five-day ceasefire came into effect at 00.01am on 14 August local time, with a view to allowing more time for negotiations between Palestine and Israel at the Egypt-mediated talks. The new truce follows a 72-hour ceasefire that ended at midnight on 13 August. Some hostilities were reported over night, however it is hoped that calm will prevail over the next five days, and that a resolution to the conflict can soon be reached.
  • The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, Mr Robert Serry, visited Gaza on 13 August. Amongst his appointments was a meeting with Mr Ziad Abu Amr, Deputy Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.
  • Tragically, six people were killed on 13 August, whilst handling an unexploded ordnance in northern Gaza. Reportedly, two of them were journalists, an Italian videographer and a Palestinian translator, as well as four members of Gaza’s unexploded-ordnance squad.
  • The short-term truce perpetuates the uncertainty and fear felt by Palestinians in Gaza, as the humanitarian community continues to respond to their needs. Shelter for the displaced, food distribution, psychosocial support and health interventions remain UNRWA’s key priorities.
  • UNRWA continues to focus on a strategy regarding the new school year, in coordination with the Ministry of Education. If a permanent ceasefire was reached, it is expected it will take the Agency between two to three weeks until schools can open their doors to some 235,000 children.
  • Due to the impending expiry of the 72-hour ceasefire during the reporting period, more families returned to UNRWA shelters. As of yesterday 13 August 16:30, 209,459 IDPs were sheltered in 87 UNRWA schools. The IDP numbers remain fluid. Some families return if they find their house uninhabitable or feel otherwise unsafe. Almost half of the displaced in UNRWA shelters are children below the age of 18.  
  • In addition to participation in the OHCHR-led Protection Cluster, awareness of protection is an ongoing focus for UNRWA in its shelters. Guidance has been provided to all relevant UNRWA staff in the five areas of the Gaza Strip, to ensure protection is understood and incorporated into shelter management so as to mitigate any harm to persons UNRWA is tasked with protecting. Protection Focal Points (one male and one female) have been identified in each UNRWA school that is hosting internally displaced persons (IDPs). Focal Points are responsible for ensuring that protection considerations are monitored and addressed within shelters and adhered to in service delivery as part of protection response. Among the key areas of focus for UNRWA on protection are the neutrality of its installations; the protection of children against violence, exploitation and abuse; gender based violence; and other protection concerns.
  • UNRWA and WFP continued the exceptional food distribution to all families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies. Over the past two days, almost 30,603 of the eligible 143,000 families received a 30kg ration of flour and a 10kg ration of rice. A total of 11,704 rations were distributed yesterday, which corresponds to UNRWA staff distributing some 39 rations per minute in all 12 distribution centres. There were large crowds in front of all distribution centres. UNRWA also continued to focus on providing greater information on the process to waiting families, via loudspeaker announcements and posters.
  • Since the last update, the Protection Cluster recorded 8 additional fatalities. According to UN information, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 1973. 1416 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 238 women. 

GENERAL

Past 24 hours: Another ceasefire has been introduced and whilst this does allow for greater access to each of the five areas in Gaza, it makes it difficult for Agencies to plan much beyond humanitarian response activities. Whilst rapid assessments of the destruction caused by conflict have commenced, until there is a long term agreement it will be difficult to begin recovery interventions.

The atmosphere in Gaza continues to be one of uncertainty and confusion, with some families moving back and forth from shelters to home, whilst others wait for peace so that they can start to focus on building a new life.

UNRWA RESPONSE

  • UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, trucked 770.9 cubic metres of potable water to shelters. This brings the potable water supply to approximately 3.5 litres per person per day, which is slightly above the international minimum standard of 3 litres per person.This amount excludes bottled water delivered to the shelters in areas where the capacity of water suppliers is insufficient. 874 cubic meters of non-potable water were trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the shelters.
  • The hygiene and water campaign continued to be rolled out in 57 shelters. Twenty-seven Job Creation Program workers, including six area focal points and 21 facilitators, visited the shelters to which they have been assigned, and organised orientation sessions on hygiene, use of water, health and environmental health. In total, since the campaign commenced, 4,089 IDPs participated in 69 orientation sessions. 112 hygiene committees were established with a total of 968 members, including IDP volunteers and UNRWA sanitation workers. Cleaning activities were allocated within each committee and schedules of work were decided.      
  • UNRWA delivered 16 truckloads of non food items (toilet paper, hygiene kits and diapers) as well as 69 truckloads of food to shelters in cooperation with WFP. The delivery of bread, which is transferred through Kerem Shalom from Hebron via Israel, is a particular challenge as it requires two back-to-back loadings when leaving the West Bank and when entering Gaza. The back-to-back system applies to all West Bank exports to or through Israel, as Palestinian vehicles are not allowed to cross the checkpoints, and to goods allowed to enter Kerem Shalom via Israel. Even though the strait line distance between Gaza City and Hebron is only 60km, bread is unlikely to cross in a day.
  • UNRWA’s regular food distribution to a total caseload of over 830,000 beneficiaries continued on 13 August. Food rations were provided to 61,414 people through all 12 UNRWA distribution centres.
  • Under the UNRWA/WFP exceptional food distribution to 143,000 families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies, 11,704 rations were distributed through 12 UNRWA distribution centres.
  • 14 of 21 health centres were operating, with 21,1139 patients visiting.
  • UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Programme has continues to serve over 108,904 parents and engage over 120,089 children in recreational activities. UNRWA partner organizations, including the Sharek Youth Forum, continue to provide support. UNRWA partner organizations, including the Sharek Youth Forum, continue to provide support to 18,379 adult IDPs and 93,595 children.
  • Of UNRWA’s Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department, 28 staff and 23 JCP workers carried out critical repair work in UNRWA installations.
  • 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). 

SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS

It is reported that 5 rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel and 7 airstrikes were conducted by the IDF, firing 9 missiles in Gaza during the reporting period.

UNRWA INSTALLATIONS

Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 103 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.

FUNDING NEEDS

More information on the revised flash appeal can be found here.

CROSSINGS

  • The Rafah crossing was open.
  • The Erez crossing was open for internationals and humanitarian cases.
  • The Kerem Shalom crossing was open. 

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