update on unrwa operations in gaza

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The blockade on Gaza - about to enter its 13th year in June 2019 - is keeping 1.9 million people isolated and locked into a tiny 365 square kilometres enclave. Years of closures and restrictions on the movement of people and goods, as well as repeated cycles of violence, have had a devastating human and economic impact. The average unemployment rate in 2018 increased to 52 per cent - the highest annual level ever reported - from 43.6 per cent in 2017. Access to clean water and electricity remains at crisis level and impacts nearly every aspect of life in Gaza. Almost 97 per cent of Gaza’s domestic groundwater supply is not fit for consumption; for most of 2018, Gaza received 4-5 hours of electricity per day on average which, thanks to a US$ 60 million grant for fuel for the Gaza Power Plant, improved to 12-15 hours in October and averaged 11 hours/day in Q1/2019. The chronic electricity deficit over the past decade has severely impacted the availability of essential services, particularly health, water and sanitation services, and continues to undermine Gaza’s fragile economy. The continued inner-Palestinian political stalemate continues to exacerbate the overall socioeconomic situation and service delivery crisis on the ground. Movement restrictions imposed by Israeli authorities most tragically affect the ability of patients to seek medical care outside of Gaza. On average in Q1/2019, 67 per cent of patients’ application to exit Gaza via Israel were approved while 33 per cent were delayed or denied, constituting a slight improvement compared to the average 2018 approval rate of 61 per cent.

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