16 August 2014 | Issue No. 39
In the south of Gaza, an EOR was activated in Rafah. Dr Yousef Mousa, Chief Area Officer for UNRWA in Rafah is also head of the Rafah EOR. Every morning Dr Mousa gathers staff to discuss the UNRWA response to the current situation. He says there are numerous challenges associated with the number of IDPs sheltering in UNRWA schools, particularly following the start of the Israeli ground invasion in Gaza on 17 July, “with nowhere else to go, the displaced Palestinians started streaming into UNRWA schools, the safest place possible in Gaza,” he said. Currently there are 13 UNRWA Designated Emergency Shelters (DES) in Rafah, providing refuge to approximately 37,400 IDPs.
Thanks to the work of staff in each of UNRWA’s five EORs, a prominent feature of UNRWA’s response during this conflict is the cooperation and involvement of the local community. In Rafah, community organizations and volunteers have provided in-kind and cash assistance to IDPs in UNRWA’s DESs; as well as psychological support for children, cleaning campaigns and sunshades. A youth initiative saw 15 barbers giving haircuts to almost 1,500 children at the DES. Donations are received at the EOR and are distributed to IDPs in shelters to ensure equity and transparency.
Past 24 hours: Families continue to gather supplies, attend routine medical appointments and make basic preparations amidst the uncertainty of whether Tuesday will bring a resumption of hostilities, an extended negotiation and cease fire period between Hamas and Israel, or long term peace.
Under its Community Mental Health Program (CMHP), 92 UNRWA counselors reported to the shelters on 15 August. To date, the CMHP has provided 13,620 sessions comprising mental health awareness, psychosocial support for 114,993 parents and recreational and animation activities to 126,933 children. CMHP staff also coordinated and supervised the implementation of 3,377 sessions by other partners, reaching 19,241 adults and 97,018 children.
No major incidents were reported.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 103 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
More information on the revised flash appeal can be found here.
The Kerem Shalom crossing was open.