weekly update – 01 October 08.00hrs – 08 October 08.00hrs | issue 64
the next update will be issued on Wednesday 15 October 2014
- 18 UNRWA school buildings continue to serve as Collective Centres for approximately 53,869 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
- Eid al-Adha, the second of two religious holidays celebrated annually by Muslims was observed in Gaza, commencing on 4 October. Though celebrations were more sombre for many families due to the current situation and recent conflict, most were able to meet with extended family and enjoy time together. With generous donations UNRWA was able to distribute sheep for the occasion to more than 3,630 families.
- The reconstruction of Gaza remained a key focus over the past week, in the lead up to the Cairo International Conference on Palestine - Reconstructing Gaza. The Conference will be co-hosted by the governments of Egypt, Norway and Palestine on 12 October, 2014. As the current cease fire between Israel and Hamas has held since 26 August, the objective of the event is to encourage the international community to provide the political and financial support and assistance needed for the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza, as well as for long-term sustainable development in Palestine. The conference has an active social media campaign, which can be followed on Twitter via the hashtag: #GazaConfCairo. UN coordination activities with the National Consensus Government and its funding requirements, including those of UNRWA, are listed in the National Reconstruction and Early Recovery Plan for Gaza, which is being presented at the conference.
- UNRWA schools operated for 241,000 children on 1 and 2 October, commencing again on 8 October due to the Eid holidays. Over the past week, phase two activities continued, and preparations commenced for the self learning material for the third phase of UNRWA’s innovation education program in Gaza. 138 students attending UNRWA schools were killed in the recent hostilities, since 8 July. An additional 814 were injured, 20 lost both parents and 540 lost either a father or mother.
- This week, students at the Gaza and Khan Younis Technical Colleges resumed courses in technical divisions. Next week, trade divisions will begin their scholastic year. Formal vocational education offered through UNRWA’s nine Technical Colleges in Gaza provide an option for those not undertaking university studies after basic education. Courses typically run for two years.
- The implementation of UNRWA’s shelter assessment of Palestinian homes continued over the past week. As of 7 October, UNRWA’s Relief and Social Services Program’s Social Workers have visited and surveyed 72,862 families as part of the Agency’s Damages Assessment. UNRWA construction and engineering personnel had assessed 17,593 homes as of yesterday. According to estimates based on preliminary information from the UNRWA shelter assessment, up to 75,000 – 80,000 refugee homes were impacted during the fifty days of hostilities. As a collaborative effort between Shelter Cluster members, the National Consensus Government, UNRWA and UNDP, the following assistance packages will be offered to families whose homes are assessed as uninhabitable:
- Rental Subsidy: This builds on existing programmes already being implemented in Gaza (transitional shelter cash assistance – TSCA). Upon verification of eligibility, families with uninhabitable homes will receive one of the following amounts per month based on family size until the end of the year:
>1 – 5 receive USD 200 per month
>6 – 10 receive USD 225 per month
>Over 10 receive USD 250 per month
Due to budgetary considerations, TSCA is currently being dispersed for up to four months (from September to December 2014). UNRWA anticipates that the need of many families for TSCA will continue into 2015. Funding is only secured until December 2014.
- Reintegration Package: This one-time support is for all families with uninhabitable homes and is in the amount of USD 500. It is intended for non-food items to help get a family back on their feet.
- The Agency has concluded assessments of damaged UNRWA installations, with a total of 118. Of these, 83 are schools and 10 are health centres. Relief centres and emergency centres are also amongst the UNRWA installations that were damaged as a result of recent hostilities.
- 521 Palestinian children are confirmed killed during the 50 day war. The cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,205, including 283 women, according to the continued collection of preliminary data by the Protection Cluster from various sources. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom 66 were soldiers and one civilian fatality was a child.
Operational environment: The political and security situation in Gaza remains unstable. The ongoing deterioration in the socioeconomic situation is frustrating for many and even as Agencies do everything possible to help people get back on their feet, there is little clarity on what the future holds for the Strip. UNRWA’s operational focus continues to be on “back to school” activities, Collective Centre management, shelter assessments and assistance to those with damaged or uninhabitable homes and ongoing assistance to the refugee community.
Equipping students for “back to school” in Gaza
UNRWA’s Department of Education continues to do everything it can to support teachers and students who have recently returned to UNRWA schools in Gaza.
During September, psychosocial support was provided to 7,900 UNRWA teachers by 200 counsellors from UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Program. The training was part of the first phase of UNRWA’s innovative approach to education in Gaza. 118 human rights teachers were also trained in Theatre for Development skills and how to integrate drama into learning.
Al Bureij Elem co-ed school B accommodates approximately 1,100 students. School Principal, Fatima Al Ghureiz, reflects on the first few weeks of the new school year. She says, “In general the school students are satisfied with the beginning of the school year, and teachers are doing well in using the training they received.”
Other support has been more tangible. Over the past few weeks UNRWA students across the Gaza Strip each received school text books and stationery, including eight Arabic writing pads, two English writing pads and one drawing pad. UNRWA schools were also equipped with stationery, cleaning materials, chalk, furniture and other supplies to ensure each facility is well equipped for learning opportunities.
UNRWA teacher, Nisrin Mahdi has particularly enjoyed seeing students receive the new stationery. "Most students were not able to purchase the necessary stationery this year due to financially difficult conditions they suffered during the conflict. I believe that this equipment is important for them and helps them ease back into normal schooling," said Nisrin.
One student already enjoying drawing and writing at school is six year old Salma, a first grader originally from Khuzaa area in Khan Younis. Salma’s family lost their home in the recent conflict. "Many of my belongings were lost or destroyed, including my kindergarten certificate, and my toys, which I asked my brother to move from the roof to a safer place in my bedroom," Salma said.
Like many of the 241,000 children attending UNRWA’s 252 schools in Gaza, Salma has big dreams for her future and already realizes that education will play a part in helping her achieve them.
She says, "I wish we could all live in peace. I want to study hard and become a doctor in the future to treat patients and the poor."
The 2014/15 school year in Gaza commenced on 14 September.
- Between 1-8 October, UNRWA continued to deliver truckloads of non food items and food to Collective Centres. This food support is provided in cooperation with WFP.
- UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, continued daily water distributions to the Collective Centres. During the week of 1-7 October, 1,259 cubic metres of potable water were trucked, which is equivalent to about 4 litres of drinking water per person per day. 1,333 cubic metres of non-potable water were also trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the Collective Centres. The non-potable water distribution supplements the water provided by the municipal water network.
- Since the start of the current cease fire, the Water and Hygiene Campaign has had to re-establish new committees, as numerous displaced persons left the Collective Centres including IDPs previously involved in the Campaign. Last week, since 1 October, 146 IDP hygiene committees were active with a total of 1,371 members. A total of 303 awareness raising sessions were held, and over 6,145 IDPs were trained on issues such as cleanliness, usage of cleaning materials, best practices in water management, how to keep food from being contaminated and how to treat lice and scabies and avoid other hygiene related diseases. The hygiene team also organized recreational and support activities for 4,814 children. The number of persons transferred to the Medical Focal Points decreased significantly during the past week.
- Between 1 and 8 October, all 21 UNRWA Health Centres continued to serve refugees.
- General maintenance such as waste removal from all of Gaza’s 8 camps continued between 1 and 8 October.
- During the past week, the 11 water wells in Jabalia Camp (6), Beach Camp (3), Khan Younis Camp (1) and Rafah (1) supplied water to beneficiaries.
- Maintenance and repair works continue on UNRWA installations across the Gaza Strip. This involved plumbing repairs, metal works, carpentry, electrical works and painting.
Summary of Major Incidents
Overnight on 7 October there were two explosions that reportedly destroyed an electricity generator and a fuel tank at the French Cultural Centre in Gaza City. During the same evening it is reported that the Israeli navy fired at Palestinian fishing boats. No other major incidents were reported between 1 and 8 October.
118 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
More information on the revised appeal can be found by here.
Rafah crossing was open for humanitarian cases and international visa holders on 2 and 8 October. It was closed from 3-7 October due to Israeli public holidays.
Erez crossing was open for National ID holders (humanitarian cases, medical cases, merchants and UN staff) and for international staff from 5-7 October. It was also open on 8 October for pedestrians under the above classifications only. It was closed on 3 and 4 October due to Israeli public holidays.
Kerem Shalom was open on 6, 7 and 8 October. It was closed from 3-5 October due to the public holidays in Israel.