Gaza Situation Report 34
11 August 2014 | Issue No. 34
- For the fourth time during this military escalation, a temporary 72-hours ceasefire was agreed. At the time of writing, the agreement which came into effect at 00:00hrs local time, holds.
- As of 10 August 2014, the Agency sheltered 236,918 IDPs in 90 UNRWA schools.
- Today at 1300hrs, UNRWA and WFP will commence an exceptional food distribution to all families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies. 143,000 families – approximately 730,000 individuals – will receive a standard ration of flour (30kg) and rice (10kg). Each parcel equals about 44 per cent of the calorie requirements of an average family for one month. Families are being notified through local media and posters and will receive their parcels on designated days, commencing with families of 12 or more members. The exceptional food distribution will take place in all 12 UNRWA food distribution centers over at least 16 days. The blanket food distribution aims at improving access to the most basic food commodities, including for families hosting displaced, and at stabilizing the Gaza food market. The exceptional food distribution comes in addition to UNRWA and WFP providing regular food aid to over 1 million Palestinians in Gaza and to ongoing food distributions in shelters.
- UNRWA is rolling out its hygiene campaign and its improved health surveillance mechanism in the shelters. The Agency will also deploy monitors to assess and evaluate conditions of the displaced in UNRWA schools. Monitoring will include the registration process, cleanliness, health, food and water provision in the shelters and address protection concerns, including gender and disability.
According to UN information, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 1960. 1395 are believed to be civilians, including 458 children and 237 women.
Past 24 hours: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement of a 72 hours ceasefire and urged all concerned to avoid steps that would lead to a resumption of violence. He expressed “his strong hope that this will give the two sides, under Egyptian auspices, another chance to agree on a durable ceasefire for the benefit of all civilian populations and as a starting point to address the underlying grievances on both sides,” according to a statement from his spokesperson. He added that the United Nations stands ready to assist in the implementation of an agreement that would consolidate peace and allow for much-needed reconstruction and development of Gaza.
With the economy effectively destroyed through the blockade, the number of Palestine refugees coming to UNRWA for food aid has increased from less than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 today. Throughout the current military escalation, staff safety, closure of distribution centers and lack of access to UNRWA warehouses present a daily challenge to the Agency. Since the beginning of hostilities, UNRWA staff continued food aid distribution 6 days a week, with the 7th day required to stock up food supplies stored in UNRWA warehouses.
Riyad El-Lulu is responsible for UNRWA’s food distribution center in Nuseirat, one of the Agency’s 12 centers in the Gaza Strip. His staff work some 14 hours per day, surrounded by incessant shelling, sometimes in the immediate neighborhood. “I had to leave my home in Bureij and move to Nuseirat so that I can come to work at the center here”, he says. “It is our duty as UNRWA staff and as Palestinians to support our people with assistance they desperately need during these difficult times.”
Normally, UNRWA food distributions follow a strict distribution schedule. Every family has to come at certain dates to a designated center. Since the start of the escalation, families could come any day they managed to leave their homes or temporary shelter. Some fled their dwellings without the ration cards, which are required to receive UNRWA food aid, or documents were left behind or destroyed. UNRWA staff tried hard to find solutions to help all families, including through other means of identity proof such as a driving license or information provided by the municipality. Riyad El-Lulu says: “This is the least we could do. Many of the families who come to our center lost loved ones during the conflict, and had to risk their lives to get here to receive their food assistance.”
Yesterday, across the Gaza Strip, some 2,838 families received their food rations, including oil, canned meat, rice, sugar and flour, through 12 distribution centers.
Food commodities are procured through international tenders and imported through the only functional border crossing with Israel, Kerem Shalom, and stored in UNRWA warehouses across the Gaza Strip. The food aid distribution to a total caseload of 830,000 Palestinians comes in addition to UNRWA and WFP providing daily food rations to Palestinians sheltered in UNRWA and government schools, and to the exceptional food distribution starting today 11 August.
- UNRWA delivered 32 truckloads of non food items (blankets, family hygiene kits, diapers, mats and cleaning supplies) as well as 47 truckloads of food to shelters in cooperation with WFP.
- UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, increases water supply every day. Over the reporting period, 625 cubic meters of potable water were trucked to shelters. This amount excludes bottled water supplied to shelters where there are no sufficient water suppliers available. 747 cubic meters of non-potable water was trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the 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 11,860 cubic meters, including to UNRWA shelters.
- In the framework of UNRWA’s hygiene and water campaign, UNRWA hired university students and graduates under the Job Creation Programme to work with the displaced to promote appropriate hygiene practices. In every shelter, there will be an IDP committee of two men, two women and four youth (two male and two females) to advocate good hygiene practices of washing hands and keeping shelters clean, to build awareness about the impact of wasting water in the Gaza context, and advise on how to treat lice and scabies. These activities are supported by a poster campaign in all shelters. Further, and in addition to the showers installed in toilets in all shelters in Gaza, UNRWA in Rafah installed external showers to improve hygiene in the overcrowded shelters.
- 14 of 21 health centers were operating. 82 per cent of the staff reported to work, and 21,092 patients were served. Complementary to the hygiene and water campaign, UNRWA is also rolling out an improved surveillance mechanism in the shelters. The recruitment of additional staff under the Job Creation Programme has been completed in three of Gaza’s five areas and will be deployed in the shelters as of today; the remaining two areas will complete recruitment today. It is expected that by the end of this week health teams in the shelters will report on nine health issues of concern as identified by the UNRWA health department to assist in early detection of problems and prevent large scale outbreaks of diseases.
Of UNRWA’s Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Department, 287 staff, representing 85 per cent of the permanent sanitation staff, reported to work. Together with 380 Palestinians employed under the Job Creation Programme (JCP), they removed a total of 326 tonnes of waste from all Gaza camps. UNRWA maintenance staff continue to undertake critical repair work in UNRWA installations.
SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS
Reportedly, and before the 72 hour ceasefire came into effect at midnight, there were 55 rockets fired towards Israel. There were also reports that 66 air-to-ground missiles were fired into Gaza in addition to 67 tank shells. 16 houses were reportedly bombarded by the IDF.
UNRWA estimates that 97 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014. Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification.
More information on the revised flash appeal can be found here.
- The Rafah crossing was open for foreign passport holders and wounded Palestinians.
- The Erez crossing was open for internationals and humanitarian cases.
The Kerem Shalom crossing was open for one hour.
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