17 August 2014 | Issue No. 40
UPDATE AT 16:30
- The five-day cease fire between Hamas and Israel has now held for three days. It is reported that Egyptian-mediated talks between the two parties is ongoing. As yet, there is no indication of what will occur at the expiration of the ceasefire on Monday.
- UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Mr Pierre Krähenbühl arrived in Gaza on 16 August and departs on Monday. During his visit he plans to meet with representatives from the National Consensus Government, civil society groups, families of the 11 personnel UNRWA has lost due to the current conflict, and to visit some of UNRWA’s shelters. Today, Mr Krähenbühl visited three of the five UNRWA schools that were subject of tragic incidents during the current conflict in Gaza. He will go to the remaining two schools later in his visit. He also plans to view the exceptional food distribution UNRWA is facilitating in partnership with WFP and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
- At the time of reporting, there remained 229,872 people sheltering in 81 UNRWA schools. The average number of people in each UNRWA shelter is about 2,800. The total number of people UNRWA is supporting through its own shelters and non-UNRWA schools, is more than 256,000. Almost half of the displaced in UNRWA shelters are children below the age of 18.
- In partnership with WFP and the Ministry of Social Affairs, UNRWA continued the exceptional food distribution to all families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies. Since 11 August almost 52,000 of the eligible 143,000 families received a 30kg ration of flour and a 10kg ration of rice. A total of 10,903 rations were distributed yesterday in all 12 UNRWA distribution centres.
- Since the last update, the Protection Cluster has not recorded any additional fatalities. According to UN information, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 1975. 1417 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 239 women.
- Implementation of psychosocial support is one of the priorities within UNRWA’s emergency response. Families seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters have experienced the trauma of having to flee, many have had family members killed or have lost their homes and everyone in Gaza has experienced intense fear and disruption to their normal lives. Children have been particularly impacted by these experiences and need support to make sense of the violence they have witnessed. In response, UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program (CMHP) has deployed counselors to each UNRWA shelter since the start of the emergency. Counselors work with displaced persons to promote positive coping mechanisms and enhance the resilience of individuals, families and communities.
Zaitoun Elem co-ed school, now operating as a shelter, is providing refuge to approximately 4,200 displaced people. Ms Huiyda Al Ghoul is a School Counselor working at the shelter to support the families and children who have been most impacted by their experiences of displacement and conflict. Ms Huiyda, who has been employed by UNRWA for 13 years as a school counselor, explains her work at the shelter, “we provide respite and distraction for the children from the general conflict situation and utilize their time in the shelter in a child-friendly atmosphere.” Ms Huiyda and other counselors facilitate recreational activities for children, such as games, sports and drawing to give children an opportunity to play and to express their thoughts and emotions. Individual and group counseling is provided to those in need of more specialized support.
Counselors provide a much-needed outlet for people to talk about their experiences; and help families to support children in dealing with the impacts of their experiences. Many children and adults have inherent coping capacities that help them to deal with what they have experienced, so, as Ms Huiyda explains, “we focus on children and families that have undergone extreme experiences as well as the ones showing signs of particular vulnerability.”
The CMHP has provided 14,093 sessions encompassing mental health awareness, psychosocial support for parents and recreational and animation activities to 131,626 children. CMHP staff also coordinates and supervises the implementation of sessions by other partners, to ensure services are available for more adults and children
Past 24 hours: The atmosphere remains calm and the streets of Gaza busy. Many families are gathering extended members to try and have some time together before the current ceasefire ends on Monday.
- UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, trucked 684 cubic metres of potable water to the shelters. This brings the potable water supply to approximately 2.7 litres per person per day. This amount excludes bottled water delivered to the shelters in areas where the capacity of water suppliers is insufficient. In addition to drinking water, 739 cubic meters of non-potable water were trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the shelters.
- UNRWA delivered 16 trucks of non food items to shelters, including cleaning products such as brooms and mops, diapers, toilet paper rolls and other supplies, as well as 46 truckloads of food to shelters in cooperation with WFP.
- UNRWA’s regular food distribution to a total caseload of over 830,000 beneficiaries continued on 16 August. Food rations were provided to 3,283 families 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, 10,903 rations were distributed through 12 UNRWA distribution centres.
- Fourteen of 21 health centres were operating, with 1,896 patients visiting. Collectively, UNRWA health centres saw a ten per cent increase in appointments compared to the previous day of operation. Thirty-nine patients received psychosocial counseling support at UNRWA health centres on 16 August.
- Twenty-nine UNRWA staff members and 54 Job Creation Program workers from the organization’s infrastructure and camp improvement program reported to work on 16 August. Jobs completed include plumbing, electrical repairs and carpentry at UNRWA installations.
Under its Community Mental Health Program (CMHP), 88 UNRWA counselors reported to the shelters on 15 August. So far the CMHP has provided 14,093 sessions encompassing mental health awareness, psychosocial support covering 118,627 parents and recreational and animation activities to 131,626 children. CMHP also coordinated and supervised the implementation of 3,528 sessions by other partners covering 19,999 adult IDP’s and 99,895 children.
SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS
It is reported that during the reporting period the Israeli Navy opened fire towards Palestinian boats in Northern Gaza and that there was an IDF shooting incident near the security fence with Israel.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 108 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
More information on the revised flash appeal can be found here.