Gaza Situation Report 39

16 August 2014
Gaza Situation Report 39

16 August 2014 | Issue No. 39


  • 229,872 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are sheltering in 81 UNRWA schools.
  • UNRWA is providing support to a total of almost 257,000 IDPs taking refuge in UNRWA and government schools. 


  • A five-day ceasefire has held for another day across the Gaza Strip. Banks, many shops and markets are open.
  • UNRWA continued to focus on emergency response activities related to internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking refuge in its designated shelters, the provision of food and other vital supplies to families in all five areas of the Gaza Strip, and implementation of regular operations for the 1.2 million refugees it serves. 
  • Shelter populations remained fluid and it is expected that this will continue until the conclusion of the current cease fire. At the time of reporting, there remained 225,831 people sheltering in 81 UNRWA schools. The average number of people in each UNRWA shelter is about 2,800. The total number of people UNRWA is supporting through its own shelters and government schools, is more than 256,000. Almost half of the displaced in UNRWA shelters are children below the age of 18.
  • When UNRWA declared an emergency on 8 July, Emergency Operations Rooms (EOR) were activated in each of the five governorates of the Gaza Strip. EORs represent a localized structure for coordination between the various components of UNRWA’s emergency response. Each EOR is staffed by local UNRWA staff members from a range of departments including Education, Health, Infrastructure and Camp Improvement, Sanitation and Maintenance.

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.

  • Since the last update, the Protection Cluster has no recorded additional fatalities. According to UN information, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 1975. Of these, 1417 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 239 women.


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.


  • UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, trucked 684 cubic metres of potable water to the shelters. This brings the potable water supply to approximately 3 litres per person per day, thus meeting the international minimum standards. This amount excludes bottled water delivered to the shelters in areas where the capacity of water suppliers is insufficient. On 14 August, more than 75,000 bottles were distributed across the Gaza Strip. In addition to drinking water, 653 cubic meters of non-potable water were trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the shelters.      
  • UNRWA delivered 24 trucks of non food items to shelters, including diapers, toilet paper rolls and cleaning supplies, as well as 59 truckloads of food to shelters in cooperation with WFP. 
  • Both UNRWA’s regular food distribution to 830,000 refugees, and the UNRWA/WFP exceptional food distribution to 143,000 families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies, used Friday, 15 August to prepare for continued distribution in coming days.
  • 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 Rafah crossing was open.
  • The Erez crossing was open for internationals and humanitarian cases.
  • The 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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