UNRWA Situation Report #102 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Friday, April 19, 2024

All information from 15–17 April 2024, is valid as of 17 April 2024 at 22:30 

Days 192-194 of Hostilities 



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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • Israeli Security Forced (ISF) operations from air, land and sea continue across the Gaza Strip. On 11 April, ISF announced that a ground operation had begun in central Gaza. ISF operations continue to cause civilian casualties, displacement and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure.  
  • On 17 April, OCHA launched the Occupied Palestinian Territory Flash Appeal  with a requirement of US$ 2.82 billion for UN agencies, INGOs and NGO partners to address humanitarian needs of 3 million people for nine months in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  Within the Flash Appeal, UNRWA requires US$ 1.2 billion, 42 per cent of all the requirements, demonstrating the critical importance of UNRWA, its presence and reach both within Gaza and the West Bank. 
  • The Flash Appeal highlights a number of critical changes in the operating environment to be able to provide humanitarian assistance at scale, such as:
    • Safe and sustained access to all people in need across the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
    • More entry and supply routes, including increase via land and the opening of maritime corridors.
    • Improved ability to move within Gaza to effectively deliver assistance to the north.
    • Entry of critical humanitarian items, including communications equipment and protective gear for humanitarian staff.
    • Funding must be timely and flexible to allow humanitarian actors to adapt programming to a highly dynamic context.
    • Visas and permits for UN and INGO staff to support Gaza operations from Jerusalem, and for staff to move within the West Bank.
  • On 17 April, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA addressed the Security Council on the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the unprecedented threats and challenges facing the agency.
  • On 16 April, UNRWA released a brief on detentions and ill-treatment of detainees from Gaza in Israeli detention centres.   U The Israeli Security Forces (ISF) started to release Palestinian detainees in early November 2023. UNRWA interviewed several of the detainees among them men, women, children and UNRWA staff. 
  • [1] According to UN WOMEN, more than 10,000 women have been killed in Gaza to date, among them an estimated 6,000 women who left 19,000 children behind. Women who have survived have been displaced, widowed and are facing starvation. More than 1 million women and girls in Gaza have almost no food, no access to safe water, latrines, washrooms, or sanitary pads, with diseases spreading amid inhumane living conditions.
  • OCHA’s latest humanitarian needs and response update[2], covering humanitarian needs and response between 9–15 April, highlights the challenges faced in the delivery of health, nutrition, food security and wash services especially with regards to reaching northern Gaza. Restrictions by Israel on UNRWA access to the north have been in place since 24 March. The last time UNRWA was able to deliver food supplies to the area was on 23 January 2024.
  • There has been very little significant change in the volume of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza or improved access to the north. Since the beginning of April, an average of 182 aid trucks have crossed into Gaza per day via the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah land crossings. This remains well below the operational capacity of both border crossings and the minimum target of 500 trucks per day.   
  • As of 17 April, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 178.
  • As of 17 April, up to 1.7 million* people (over 75 per cent of the population)** have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, the majority multiple times.*** Families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Following intense Israeli bombardments and fighting in Khan Younis and the Middle Area in recent weeks, a significant number of displaced people have moved further south. 

*This includes 1 million people living in or near emergency shelters or informal shelters. As of 12 October, approximately 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were recorded in UNRWA shelters in Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates. UNRWA currently estimates that the population of Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates is up to 300,000 people. The ability of UNRWA to provide humanitarian support and updated data in these areas has been severely restricted. The ongoing hostilities, evacuation orders issued by ISF, and the constant need for safer locations have resulted in people being displaced multiple times.

**UNRWA reported on 15 January in Situation Report 64 that up to 1.9 million IDPs were either residing in 154 UNRWA shelters or near these shelters. Due to the continued escalation of fighting and evacuation orders, some households have moved away from the shelters where they were initially registered.

*** There are instances where the same IDPs are registered in multiple shelters due to the fluid movement of populations; hereafter, estimates are used for these shelters. UNRWA plans to conduct a more accurate count of IDPs in shelters, including informal shelters, as soon as the security situation allows.

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem update will shift to once a week, every Monday. 

Flour distribution in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Mohamed Hinnawi
Flour distribution in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Mohamed Hinnawi

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 17 April, at least 33,899 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. About 70 per cent of those killed are reported to be women and children. Another 76,664 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023– 17 April 2024, 451 Palestinians, including at least 112 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

 

Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians 

The Gaza Strip

UNRWA is working to verify the details of incidents reportedly affecting UNRWA premises. Further information will be provided once it becomes available.

One incident has been reported impacting UNRWA installations and internal displaced people (IDPs) sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures remain ongoing, initial reports indicate:

  1. On 17 April 2024, a school in Beach camp in Gaza city was reportedly directly hit by the Israeli Air Forces causing severe damage to one of the school’s buildings. At least 10 people sheltering in the school were killed (all of them women and children) and at least 12 others were injured, including an UNRWA staff member.

360* incidents impacting UNRWA premises and the people inside them have been reported since the beginning of the war (some with multiple incidents impacting the same location), including at least 50 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 164 different UNRWA installations have been impacted. 

UNRWA estimates that in total at least 428* internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,430* injured since the start of the war. UNRWA is still verifying the number of casualties caused by incidents that impacted its installations, and notes that these figures do not include some reported casualties where the number of injuries could not be determined.

 *numbers are subject to change once further verifications have been conducted.

UNRWA Response  

The Gaza Strip  

UNRWA Shelters 

  • As of 17 April, nearly 1.7 million displaced people are now sheltering across emergency shelters (UNRWA and public shelters), informal sites or in the vicinity of UNRWA shelters and distribution sites and within host communities. 

 

Health 

  • As of 13 April, eight (out of 24[1]) UNRWA health centres were operational. Of those, one is in the north, two are in the Middle Area, two in Khan Younis and three in Rafah. These health centres provide primary health care services, including outpatient services, non-communicable disease care, medication, vaccination, antenatal and postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients. 
  • On 13 March, UNRWA opened a temporary health centre to provide health services for the people in al-Mawasi, west of Khan Younis. 
  • Nearly 766 healthcare staff continue to work in operational health centres. On 13 April, they provided 11,022 medical consultations.
  • UNRWA conducted another 7,562 medical consultations through 318 staff at the shelters, including at the newly established medical points in al-Mawasi area to serve an influx of displaced persons from Khan Younis. The total registered population in al-Mawasi is currently 403,447.
  • As of 13 April, UNRWA provided mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services in the Middle and Khan Younis areas with teams of psychiatrists and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters. UNRWA teams responded to 1,060 cases in health centres and in medical points through individual consultations, awareness sessions and support for cases of gender-based violence.  UNRWA teams provided medical care for 296 post-natal and pregnant women at high risk. 

 

Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • UNRWA counselors continues to provide live-saving psychosocial support services in Gaza, including psychosocial first aid, individual and group counselling, fatigue management sessions, recreational activities, Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) as well as protection cash assistance targeting children , youth, and adults.
  •  Since the onset of the conflict, it is estimated that 590,000 IDPs, including over 320,000 children, have benefited from a total of 167,559 PSS sessions/activities. During the period 9 – 19 April 2024, a total of 20,361 IDPs, including 13,399 children, benefited from these services. Specifically, counselors addressed 850 individual consultations and provided 644 group awareness sessions benefiting 5,543 adults. Additionally, they conducted 515 recreational activities engaging 11,431 children. Counsellors also provided 119 EORE sessions to 1,487 adults and 1,740 children and contributed to supporting 160 protection cases.

 

 Food Security

  • As of 8 April, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 380,224 families (nearly 1.9 million people) have been reached, of whom 276,447 families have received two rounds of flour and another 75,423 families have received three rounds.

[1] Pre-conflict UNRWA had 22 health centres, following the conflict an additional 2 temporary health centres are operational in the Mawasi area. 

 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Due to the security situation, in combination with challenges to internet connectivity, we have been unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 67. 


Quote from UNRWA Commissioner-General

"UNRWA personnel detained by Israeli Security Forces have shared harrowing accounts of mistreatment and torture"

ENDs- 

 


 

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Flour distribution in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Mohamed Hinnawi