Gaza Situation Report 63

02 October 2014
Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

weekly update - 24 September – 01 October 2014 | issue 63 
the next update will be issued on Wednesday 08 October 2014


Highlights

  • 18 UNRWA school buildings continue to serve as Collective Centres for approximately 54,510 internally displaced persons (IDPs). 
  • The rebuilding of Gaza continues to be a focus, as further details on COGAT’s recently established ‘Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism’ are eagerly anticipated by the humanitarian sector. On 26 September, UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Pierre Krähenbühl, had an opinion editorial published in Foreign Policy, in which he talks about the need for the lifting of the Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza, and its direct link to reconstruction efforts. Krähenbühl states: “The big question hanging over Gaza is the conditions under which the reconstruction will take place. I welcome the recent agreement on a mechanism to import building materials into Gaza. But if it fails to be properly implemented and if the process of rebuilding homes does not begin very soon, the levels of despair and anger in the Strip will grow very rapidly. He adds: “Only trade and employment will allow Gaza's inhabitants to rise from dispossession and dependency to self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Humanitarian aid alone, after all, cannot make up for the denial of rights and dignity. It doesn't elsewhere in the world, and one should not expect it to do so in Gaza.”
  • The Gaza Child Protection Working Group is leading an inter-agency Child Protection Rapid Assessment (CPRA) which will produce an overview of the key child protection risks and vulnerabilities and community capacities at this stage of the emergency response both in UNRWA Collective Centres and as well as within the wider community, and across all five Gaza governorates. The aim of the assessments is to identify the most urgent child protection needs and priority responses. The assessment findings are expected to be released by 15 October 2014. UNRWA is participating in the CPRA in order to help support efforts to better understand child protection needs across Gaza.
  • With 241,000 children back in UNRWA schools to continue their education, UNRWA now has a more accurate picture of the impact of the 50-day war on students and their families. Sadly, it has been confirmed that 138 students attending UNRWA schools were killed since 8 July. An additional 814 were injured and 560 have become orphans as a result of the recent hostilities. 
  • Over the past week, all 252 UNRWA schools operated with regular attendance recorded, and including triple shift schooling in two buildings. As learning activities continue, UNRWA further supported its students through the distribution of school clothing. Its Education Department also continued the distribution of stationery items to students, including eight Arabic writing pads, two English writing pads and one drawing pad per child. Also during the past week, the Department commenced preparations of the materials for the next phase of its innovative approach to education in Gaza.
  • During the past week, the Agency’s Community Mental Health Programme implemented more training for UNRWA teachers on providing classroom-based psychosocial interventions. The training at schools included stress management skills for teachers, life skills education for elementary students, and structured recreational activities for preparatory students. CMHP also utilized the French Cultural Centre in Gaza to provide a different atmosphere for teacher and students to practice psychosocial interventions and support one another. Between 24 and 30 September, about 360 students from grades one, two, and three, as well as their fifteen teachers participated in this activity. 
  • The implementation of UNRWA’s shelter assessment of Palestinian homes continued over the past week. As of 30 September, UNRWA social workers had completed their initial assessment of 66,500 refugee family homes in the Gaza Strip, which is equivalent to approximately 80 per cent of the total number estimated of impacted Palestine refugees’ homes. According to estimates based on preliminary information from the UNRWA shelter assessment, up to 75,000 – 80,000 refugee homes were impacted during the fifty days of hostilities, a much higher figure than the total number of 60,000 impacted homes – refugees and non-refugees – estimated earlier by the Shelter Cluster. Payments for rental support (transitional shelter cash assistance – TSCA) and the reintegration package started on 28 September 2014. 
  • UNRWA is continuing assessments of its installations that were damaged during the recent hostilities. UNRWA Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme (ICIP) teams have been visiting the damaged installations, assessing minor and severe damages since mid-July and as security permits. An estimated 118 UNRWA installations have sustained damage during the conflict. 
  • 505 Palestinian children are confirmed killed during the 50 day war. The cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,180, including 260 women, according to the continued collection of preliminary data by the Protection Cluster from various sources. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom 66 were soldiers and one civilian fatality was a child.

General

Operational environment: The situation in Gaza remains tense. Palestinian families in the Strip continue to feel uncertain about the future, expressing concern about the unstable political and security environment and ongoing deterioration in the socioeconomic situation. 

UNRWA Response

Engineers play key role in assessing Palestinian homes in Gaza

UNRWA is currently undertaking assessments of refugees’ homes that were damaged during recent hostilities. Construction personnel and engineers hired under the Agency’s Job Creation Program (JCP) have brought their expertise to the job, and are using new technology to conduct assessments as efficiently as possible. 

The shelter assessments are part of a wider initiative lead by the National Consensus Government’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing, in partnership with UNRWA and UNDP, to ensure all damaged homes in the Gaza Strip are assessed, and people are provided with assistance to get back on their feet.

Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

“We have deployed a Focal Area Engineer in each of Gaza’s five Areas who supervises a head group engineer. The head group engineer then manages 15-20 engineers. A total of approximately 1,400 cases are being assessed across the Gaza Strip each day,” said Abdul. 

The UNRWA assessment teams are using computer tablets with a geographic information system (GIS), to store information in a shared database. It is hoped that this will ease the planning and development process and avoid duplication. 

The engineers’ damage assessments follow visits to homes by UNRWA social workers. As of 30 September, UNRWA social workers have completed their initial assessment of 66,500 refugee family homes in the Gaza Strip, which is equivalent to approximately 80 per cent of the total estimated number of impacted Palestine refugees’ homes. According to estimates based on preliminary information from the UNRWA shelter assessment, up to 80,000 refugee homes were impacted during the fifty days of hostilities.

Wael Hamdan, Focal Area Engineer in the North said: “We race against time to be able to accomplish the task as winter is approaching and it would be more difficult for both engineers and the affected families. We started to use the computer tablet in our work which helps us with expediting the data entry process while maintaining accurate and precise data.”

Assistance includes rental subsidy and a reintegration package for those whose homes are assessed as uninhabitable and cash support for those with habitable shelters requiring minor repair. 

Payments for rental support (transitional shelter cash assistance – TSCA) and the reintegration package started on 28 September 2014.


  • Between 24 and 30 September, UNRWA continued to deliver truckloads of non food items and food to Collective Centres. This food support is provided in cooperation with WFP. 
  • Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) staff from four locations conducted visits to schools and shelters in diverse areas to follow up with teachers on classroom based psychosocial interventions. Visits to Collective Centres to follow and intervene with serious cases was also part of this week’s CMHP work. A total number of 109 counseling sessions were carried out at southern region schools. The number of group counseling sessions was 19, involving 112 beneficiaries. A total of 180 group guidance sessions were implemented, serving around 7,000 beneficiaries. Throughout the reporting period, the counselors at the southern area conducted 80 meetings with teachers, 70 meetings with parents and caregivers and a total of 1,050 beneficiaries were involved. A series of recreational activities including psychological interventions sessions for 679 students and 31,000 beneficiaries were also implemented between 24-30 September. 
  • UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, continued daily water distributions to the Collective Centres. During the week of 24-30 September 1,702 cubic metres of potable water were trucked, which is equivalent to about 4 litres of drinking water per person per day. 2,175 cubic metres of non-potable water were also trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the Collective Centres. 
  • Since the start of the ceasefire the Water and Hygiene Campaign has had to re-establish new committees, as numerous displaced persons left the Collective Centres including IDPs previously involved in the Campaign. As of yesterday, 21 IDP hygiene committees were active with a total of 197 members. An average of 100 awareness raising sessions were held each day and over 10,000 IDPs were trained on issues such as cleanliness, usage of cleaning materials, best practices in water management, how to keep food from being contaminated and how to treat lice and scabies and avoid other hygiene related diseases. The hygiene team also organized recreational and support activities for 964 children. The number of persons transferred to the Medical Focal Points decreased significantly during the past week.
  • Between 24 and 30 September, all 21 Health Centres continued to serve refugees and non-refugees. A total of 9,014 people visited the doctor at UNRWA Health Clinics and 6,198 had appointments with the dentist. 
  • Between 24 and 30 September, a total of 1,396 tons of waste were removed from all of Gaza’s 8 camps. 
  • Between 24 and 30 September, the 11 water wells in Jabalia Camp (6), Beach Camp (3), Khan Younis Camp (1) and Rafah (1) supplied 52,590 cubic metres of water. 
  • Maintenance and repair works continue on UNRWA installations across the Gaza Strip. This involved plumbing repairs, metal works, carpentry, electrical works and painting.

Summary of Major Incidents

No major incidents during the reporting period.

UNRWA Installations

118 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014. 

Funding Needs

More information on the revised appeal can be found by here.

Crossings

  • From 24-30 September, Rafah crossing was open for humanitarian cases and international visa holders. 
  • Erez crossing was open for National ID holders (humanitarian cases, medical cases, merchants and UN staff) and for international staff from 28-30 September. It was closed from 25-27 September due to Israeli public holidays. 
  • Kerem Shalom was open from 28-30 September and closed from 25-27 September.