Gaza Situation Report 8

16 July 2014
Gaza situation report (issue no 08)

16 July 2014 | Issue No.8

Due to the dramatic escalation in violence over the past week and the massive assault on Gaza, UNRWA has declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. The priority for the Agency is its emergency operations, providing assistance to those who have been displaced and sought shelter in UNRWA schools, while attempting to continue regular operations. Urgent funding needs persist and are increasing.


General

Past 24 hours: News of a possible ceasefire between Hamas and Israel dominated the news on 15 July. Egyptian officials proposed a ceasing of all hostilities in the Gaza Strip. This was accepted by the Israeli cabinet, however reports indicate that the terms of the ceasefire were not agreeable for Hamas.

Rockets continued to be fired at Israel throughout the day, and Israel resumed its military activities in Gaza in the afternoon. It is reported that several homes of senior Hamas officials were bombarded by strikes overnight. There is no sign of the current tension easing.

The devastating consequences of the ongoing conflict continue to be acutely felt by Gazans. Reports indicate that the IDF has sent more messages to residents in the northern and north-eastern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes by 08:00 on 16 July. It is also reported that the Palestinians' Gaza interior ministry has told the same people not to relocate.

As of 08:00, almost 20,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) had evacuated their homes in the north and north-eastern part of Gaza, and taken refuge in UNRWA’s 21 designated emergency shelters. The need to open additional shelters is being discussed today. The uncertainty and despair felt by the Gazan population, is especially painful as children continue to ask why their houses are shaking and why there are bombs during Ramadan.

UNRWA staff are maintaining the organization’s dedicated emergency shelters, and ensuring the displaced have somewhere to sleep, food to eat, water to drink and hygiene kits to stay healthy. In addition to Family Hygiene Kits, UNRWA is providing mothers with Baby Hygiene Kits. Many times basic hygiene items can be the difference between sickness and health. To ensure displaced mothers can continue to take the best possible care of their babies, each of the Baby Hygiene Kits includes a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, a roll of toilet paper, shampoo, talcum powder, a comb and a small toy.

UNRWA staff facilitates an evening meal of bread and tuna, provided by WFP, typically taken after sundown. Staff refill water tanks at shelters on average twice per day.

According to the Protection Cluster, there were 14 deaths during the last 24 hours, and a total of 204 fatalities since 8 July, including at least 28 women and 38 children. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports at least 1,550 injuries during the same time period.

Yesterday also marked the first reported Israeli civilian causality, since the recent escalation of violence. Reportedly, an Israeli man was killed at the Erez border crossing, whilst volunteering to deliver supplies to soldiers in the area. It is reported that an Israeli soldier was also injured.

UNRWA Response

  • UNRWA is now providing shelter to almost 20,000 beneficiaries in Gaza City and the North Area of Gaza, at Jabalia. Over the past 24 hours, food and water rations were distributed to 21 designated emergency shelters. Four trucks loaded with about 6,000 50-piece bread packets, and approximately 18,000 tins of tuna provided by WFP, were delivered. In addition, several local charities donated hot meals to IDPs at some of the shelters last night.
  • 240 Family Hygiene Kits, 1,826 diapers, and more than 1,300 toilet paper rolls were provided to shelters on 15 July. UNRWA also delivered 1,475 Baby Hygiene Kits.
  • Regular UNRWA operations also continue. Nineteen of 21 health clinics remain operational and all regular UNRWA services remain available. On 15 July, 9,412 people visited UNRWA health clinics in Gaza, including more than 760 children who received their regular check up and/or immunization vaccinations. 406 people went to the dentist at UNRWA health clinics on 15 July, and a small number also attended psychosocial counseling appointments. An increase of more than 16 per cent in patient attendance was indicated in the past 24 hours, and at one clinic in Gaza City, 163 patients were from emergency shelters.
  • UNRWA’s regular food distribution on 15 July saw 8,207 beneficiaries receive food rations through seven distribution centres.
  • Emergency fuel of 69,000 L of diesel was distributed yesterday to critical health facilities. As with 14 July, this was again predominately distribution on behalf of WHO to hospitals and clinics it services in Gaza.  

Summary of Major Incidents 

Reportedly, 371 missiles were fired by Israel to the Gaza Strip. 231 rockets and 35 mortars were fired towards Israel. It is reported that 39 houses in Gaza were bombarded by Israel. Reportedly, the IDF positioned at the border fired some 130 tank shells and the IDF Navy fired 42 shells.

UNRWA Installations

A total of 58 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014.

In the past 24 hours, three UNRWA installations were damaged – a health clinic and a boys school in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, and a girls school in Kahn Younis. 

Funding Needs

Although operations for UNRWA continue in all five Areas, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the $22 million Emergency Appeal shortfall already projected by the Agency. Currently, the most urgent funding needs include funding to continue the food assistance programme and additional resources to procure non-food items ($1 million). 

Crossings

  • Rafah crossing was open for the wounded, and Egyptian and foreign passport holders.
  • Erez was open for internationals and humanitarian medical cases only.
  • Kerem Shalom crossing was open.

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