17 July 2014 | Issue No. 9
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.
Past 24 hours: In a positive move amongst a week of devastating conflict, Israel and Hamas agreed to a five-hour UN brokered "humanitarian" pause to their 9-day-long battle. The pause comes into effect at 10:00 on 17 July and will reportedly allow for humanitarian goods to be delivered to Gaza, and for Gazans to restock food and other supplies before 15:00. It is also reported that banks will be opened for PA employees to receive their salaries. It is hoped that these moves will somewhat ease the burden that the current conflict has placed on the already vulnerable lives of people in Gaza. The opportunity to purchase additional supplies is particularly welcomed by those families who continue to host displaced relatives.
Meanwhile, ceasefire discussions also ensued. Egyptian officials continued to attempt to mediate a cease in hostilities between Hamas and Israel. Reportedly, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met in Cairo on 16 July, with a senior official from Hamas to further discuss the Egyptian proposal.
The people of Gaza continue to suffer as a result of the devastating level of violence experienced in the Strip for more than a week. There were more evacuations from the north and northeastern Gaza, resulting in three additional UNRWA designated emergency shelters opening in the past 24 hours. A total of more than 22,000 people are now sheltering in 24 UNRWA installations.
Supplies are being delivered to shelters daily, including mattresses, food and water and hygiene kits. UNRWA staff continue to maintain the installations in which the displaced are housed. This includes a health point, cleaning, providing water, quality control for drinking water, ad hoc repairs, lighting and other general maintenance.
With the number of damaged UNRWA installations now reaching 62, there are ongoing technical and financial assessments by ICIP maintenance engineers.
Tragically, 16 July marked the highest number of child fatalities in a 24 hour period, in the Gaza Strip. According to the Protection Cluster, there were 23 deaths yesterday, including 3 women, and nine children – seven boys and two girls. Six children were killed from two attacks alone, and four from the same family. Reportedly, a total of 227 fatalities have been recorded since 8 July, including at least 31 women and 47 children. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports at least 1,690 injuries during the same time period.
Reportedly, 181 missiles were fired by Israel to the Gaza Strip. 143 rockets and 33 mortars were fired towards Israel. It is reported that 38 houses in Gaza were bombarded by Israel. Reportedly, the IDF positioned at the border fired some 196 tank shells and the IDF Navy fired 46 shells.
A total of 62 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014.
In the past 24 hours, 1 UNRWA installation was damaged – a Health Clinic in the Middle Area.
UNRWA will today announce an emergency flash appeal for US$ 60 million to respond to the urgent and pressing humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, including the thousands who have already fled their homes to seek safety in UNRWA facilities. New funding will enable UNRWA to respond to the immediate shelter, food, health and psychosocial needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs), while replenishing emergency supplies and preparing for vital interventions necessary after a cessation of military activities. The emergency response phase is expected to last for one month, and the early recovery a further three to six months. More information on the appeal can be found by here.