Gaza Situation Report 28

05 August 2014
Gaza Situation Report 28

05 August 2014 | Issue No. 28

Update 18:00hrs

The ceasefire is holding. IDPs are leaving the UNRWA shelters, at least temporarily. Details to follow in tomorrow’s update.


  • A 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire starts as of 5 August 2014 08:00hrs.
  • The number of Palestinians killed stands at 1,814, with 37 new fatalities reported by the Protection Cluster. Of the new reported fatalities, 9 are children and 3 are women. The Ministry of Health reports that 9,567 are injured.
  • For the first time during this crisis, the overall IDP number in the 90 UNRWA shelters decreased from almost 273,000 last night to below 270,000 this morning 5 August. The numbers remain fluid as IDPs are expected to return to the shelter if they find their homes inhabitable or otherwise unsafe, or if hostilities resume. UNRWA is expecting that a core group of displaced, who have nowhere else to go, will stay in UNRWA schools.
  • A sustainable ceasefire requires the end of the Israeli blockade on Gaza. If there is no change in policy, international assistance will continue to serve as a band aid to assist those paying for the consequences of this man-made crisis.


Past 24 hours: A 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire, accepted by Israel and Palestinian factions, was announced to start as of 5 August 08:00hrs. During this period, the parties will meet in Cairo to discuss permanent solutions. As of this morning 08:00hrs, UNRWA had no confirmation of withdrawal of the ground troops and will continue coordination with the IDF for any potential movement within the three kilometer buffer zone, encompassing 43 percent of the entire Gaza Strip. If the ceasefire holds, teams of the will undertake a preliminary assessment of UNRWA installations within the buffer zone. Priority will be given to closed UN installations, such as schools, food distribution and health centers.

Whilst emergency operations are ongoing and humanitarian needs are under revision, UNRWA is undertaking planning for the next months and years. Of most imminent concern is the start of the new school year, planned for 24 August 2014. 90 of UNRWA’s 156 school buildings serve as shelters, and the remaining schools are either within the buffer zone or otherwise inaccessible. The military escalation and level of destruction is unprecedented, and the future of the Gaza Strip is entirely uncertain. The war hit Gaza at a time of a governance vacuum, with a National Consensus Government in place since 2 June 2014 which had never assumed power. The challenges remain huge, ranging from salary payments to staff including the police and teachers, who have not seen full salaries for one year, to border security, electricity and water supply. If the end of hostilities does not come with a policy change to the Israeli blockade, there is no more hope for Gaza. Exports need to be allowed and construction material needs to come in to rebuilt homes and infrastructure. Palestinians need access to traditional markets, to fishing areas and land. People need to be able to leave the Gaza Strip. 


Darwish Ibrahim Gharbawi, a school principal from an UNRWA school in Jabalia, manages the Fakhura Preparatory school shelter in the North of the Gaza Strip. At the onset of the crisis, it was estimated the school could absorb a maximum of 1,100 people for a couple of days. With the conflict in its fourth week, 4,045 displaced Palestinians are currently seeking refuge in the school, with UNRWA staff struggling to cater for their needs on a daily basis.

Mr. Gharabawi says: “About 32 UNRWA staff, including social workers, teachers and counselors, are present every day and every night. We are working 12-hour shifts to accommodate as many families as we can and as best we can. On a daily basis, we leave our own families behind to serve those seeking protection in our school. We are all terrified since the shelling of the UN Jabalia school, and fear our cars could be hit in an airstrike.” Mr. Gharabawi finds that water supply and the sanitation facilities are a major challenge in his school, and worries every day whether there will be enough bread for the displaced as bakeries in Gaza are facing major supply issues.

Every day, the shelter receives food which is distributed by UNRWA staff per classroom population. Food and non food items are stored in a designated room at the school, and individuals have to present their shelter registration cards, which contain details of the family, including issues requiring special care and attention. UNRWA staff, including social workers and health staff, also promote personal hygiene and provide support should any specific health issue arise. In his school, explains Mr. Gharabawi, particularly small children between 1 and 4 years suffer from gastroenteritis, including vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

Despite the immense workload, UNRWA staff are trying to pay special attention to those sometimes forgotten during times of crisis. Staff caters for displaced with special needs, such as patients with chronic diseases, requiring for example transfer to hospitals through UNRWA ambulances, and provide diapers for those that cannot use the toilets, such as people with disabilities or the elderly. UNRWA also provides psychological and psychosocial support. "UNRWA counselors and local organizations offer toys, engage children in games and other physical and recreational activities to release their tension and fears”, says Mr. Gharabawi

  • UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, continued to distribute both potable and non-potable water to emergency shelters but struggles to provide sufficient water quantity to almost 270,000 IDPs at a time when there is almost no electricity and the water network is severely damaged. Over the reporting period, 495 cubic meters of potable water were trucked to UNRWA shelters, bringing the potable water supply to about 1.85 liters per person per day, excluding bottled water supplied through partners. Significant improvements in potable water supply were made in Gaza and in the Middle Area, with the Middle Area potable water supply reaching 3 liters per person per day for the first time. 641 cubic meters of non-potable water was trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the UNRWA shelters. Some shelters benefit from UNRWA wells and municipal water sources. Over the reporting period, UNRWA’s 11 water wells in Jabalia, Beach, Khan Younis and Rafah Camps supplied a total of 11,895 cubic meters, including to UNRWA shelters.
  • Over the reporting period, UNRWA delivered 24 truckloads of NFIs (including blankets, mats, torches, family hygiene kits, and cleaning supplies) as well as 95 truckloads of food to shelters. Food to shelters is provided in cooperation with WFP, with bread also transferred from bakeries in East Jerusalem, as local bakeries can no longer meet the demand.
  • UNRWA’s food distribution to a total caseload of over 830,000 beneficiaries continued. Food rations were provided to 2,849 families.
  • 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). 20,000 liters were delivered to UNICEF for the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) and 39,950 liters were provided to WHO.
  • UNRWA maintenance staff continue to undertake critical repair work in UNRWA installations, for example repair works on the gate of the Rafah warehouse, as well as plumbing and electrical works in shelters.
  • Of UNRWA’s sanitation staff, 225 staff members and 251 Palestinians employed under the Job Creation Programme (JCP) reported to work. They removed a total of 374 tonnes from all Gaza camps, including 32 tonnes of waste from Burej and Maghazi camps which are located within the three kilometer buffer zone, requiring prior coordination with the IDF.
  • On 4th August, 104 UNRWA counselors reported to work, covering all shelters. So far, UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Programme has served over 73,000 parents and engaged almost 80,000 children in recreational activities. UNRWA also cooperates with partners, providing additional support to almost 6,000 displaced and to over 36,000 children.
  • 13 of 21 health centers were operating. 68 per cent of the staff were able to report to work, and 17,357 patients were served. UNRWA medication, including vaccinations, were secured from the closed health centers. A share of the medication is unusable as there was no electricity to provide required refrigeration. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) is provided to IDPs who suffer from viral gastroenteritis, and posters on promoting health and personal hygiene are put up in shelters. UNRWA also set up separate rooms in shelters for patients requiring specific post hospitalization care.


Reportedly, there were 92 rockets and 30 mortar shells fired towards Israel. There were also reports that 32 air-to-ground missiles were fired into Gaza in addition to 25 navy shells. 178 tank shells were fired from the border area into populated areas. Reportedly, 7 houses were bombarded.


Two additional UNRWA installations were reported damaged during this period. UNRWA estimates that 97 installations have been damaged since 8 July in 140 strikes, including 11 direct strikes.

Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. 


UNRWA has launched the second revision of its emergency flash appeal. The Agency now requires a total of US$ 187.6 million in order to provide emergency assistance for a revised scenario of up to 250,000 people displaced for a period of up to eight weeks. 

More information on the revised appeal can be found here.


  • The Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing was open for foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians. Staff was unable to report to work on the Palestinian side.
  • Erez was closed.

    Kerem Shalom crossing was open.

Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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