UNRWA Situation Report #108 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

All information from 13-19 May 2024, is valid as of 19 May 2024 at 22:30   

Days 220-226 of Hostilities 

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Key Points  

  • Reports continue of ongoing strikes by Israeli Forces, encompassing aerial, land and maritime bombardment across the Gaza Strip. These attacks result in civilian casualties, displacement and the destruction of residential structures and essential civilian infrastructure. The Israeli ground offensive continues to expand, particularly in the southern regions of Gaza City and eastern Rafah, notably around the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah Crossings. 
  • Families that have been already displaced several times are on the move again due to military operations and Israeli evacuation orders. As of 19 May 2024, the estimated number of people displaced from Rafah amounts to nearly 815,000 people since 6 May, with a further 100,000 people displaced in northern Gaza. Most UNRWA shelters in Rafah have been vacated, with internally displaced people moving to Khan Younis and Deir Al Balah.  Overall displacement numbers correlate with the UNRWA registration figures in the new locations: for example, nearly 150,000 people have registered for essential services for UNRWA in Khan Younis alone in the last ten days. 
  • On 18 May, the UNRWA Commissioner-General posted on his official X account (formerly known as Twitter), highlighting the dire situation facing Palestinians who have been forced to flee since the Israeli Forces started the military operation in parts of Rafah on 6 May.
  • As a result of the ongoing military operation in eastern Rafah the UNRWA distribution centre and WFP warehouse, both in Rafah, are now inaccessible. Food distributions in Rafah are currently suspended due to lack of supplies and insecurity. 
  • The current Israeli military operation in Rafah is directly impacting the ability of aid agencies to bring critical humanitarian supplies into Gaza.  During this reporting period, the border crossing was only open for two days and only 48 trucks entered the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom and Rafah land crossings.

        For latest updates on trucks please check:   

         Gaza Supplies and Dispatch Tracking | UNRWA

  • As of 19 May, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 189.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

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

  • Between 13 and 19 May, there were 138 recorded Israeli Security Forces (ISF) search and arrest operations across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. More than 117 Palestinians were detained during this period. Nine Palestinians were killed, including four Palestine Refugees. Of these, two refugees were killed with another Palestinian in an exchange of fire during an ISF operation in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm in the early morning of 16 May. There were two stabbing incidents during this period, with both alleged Palestinian assailants killed by ISF. 
  • On the evening of 17 May, an ISF airstrike took place in Jenin Camp in the northern West Bank, killing one Palestinian and injuring another eight. There were several attacks by Israeli settler groups against aid convoys bound for Gaza, with trucks blocked and their contents damaged at Tarqumiya checkpoint in the southern West Bank. Vehicles were reportedly set on fire and drivers faced harassment and assault. 
  • Between 13 and 19 May, there were more attacks against the UNRWA West Bank Field Office/ Jerusalem Headquarters in East Jerusalem, including arson attempts on 13 and 15 May. The UNRWA Office remains operational.

Makeshift shelters housing displaced families in Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip. May 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
Makeshift shelters housing displaced families in Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip. May 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 20 May, at least 35,562 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. Another 79,562 Palestinians have been reportedly injured.  


The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023– 15 May 2024, 480 Palestinians, including at least 116 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.

Seven incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA installations and internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures remain ongoing, initial reports indicate:

  • On 13 May 2024, the ISF reportedly entered a health centre in Gaza City and demolished an external wall, the pharmacy and the medicine  store . Additionally, the IDPs sheltering in the health centre were reportedly forced by the ISF to evacuate. According to information available to UNRWA, in the week prior to the incident, nearly 2,300 IDPs were sheltering in the health centre; however, since 11 May 2024, IDPs started to flee to West Gaza due to increased ISF military operations and heavy bombardments in the area.
  • On 14 May 2024, six IDPs were reportedly killed and an unconfirmed number of IDPs were reportedly injured when two stores located inside a school in Nuseirat camp, in Middle Area, were directly struck causing a fire in the school.
  • On 14 May 2024, an UNRWA contracted personnel working as a guard was injured by shrapnel that fell inside a school in Nuseirat camp, in the Middle Area, when the adjacent school was struck. The guard was transferred to hospital where he received  medical treatment and was later discharged.
  • On 14 May 2024, the ISF reportedly entered an UNRWA   school in Beit Lahia, North Gaza, and set it on fire, forcing  IDPs to evacuate out of the shelter. IDPs were ordered to evacuate to west of Gaza city.
  • On 14 May 2024,  11 IDPs were killed and 25 others were injured when a health centre in Gaza city was directly hit . The health centre sustained severe damage including the complete destruction of the guard rooms, the large generator's room and its fuel tank, the electrical generators, the water tanks and the solar panels. At the time of the incident, six IDPs families (about 50 IDPs) were still sheltering in the health centre and they were forced to evacuate to west Gaza City.
  • On 16 May 2024, two IDPs were killed and four were injured when a school in Nuseirat camp, in the middle area, was hit by two air strikes at the same time. As a result of the strikes, the canteen   and the storeroom sustained significant damage and a fire broke out. Approximately 11,500 IDPs were reportedly sheltering in the school at the time of the incident. Two people living near the school were also reportedly killed due to the strike that hit the storeroom.
  • On 17 May 2024, an ISF unmanned aerial vehicle shot four bullets towards a school in Maghazi camp in the Middle area. No injury was reported and approximately 1,200 IDPs were reportedly sheltering in the school at the time of the incident.
  • 382* 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 53 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 172 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 449* IDPs sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,472* 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 health centres in the last ten days have not received any medical supplies due to Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossing closure/disruptions.  This affects the stock of medicines, mainly general items such as antibiotics for children and anti-epileptic drugs. Certain laboratory and dental items and vaccines are out of stock. 
  • As of 19 May, 96 medical points and seven (out of 24[1]) UNRWA health centres were operational. These health centres provide primary health care, including outpatient services, non-communicable disease care, medications, vaccination, antenatal and postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients. 
  • Since 11 May, four medical points in the North area were closed due to the security situation, UNRWA continued to adapt to the fluid situation and set up an additional medical point in Gaza Training College on 16 May. 
  • Nearly 667 healthcare staff continue to work in operational health centres. On 19 May, they provided 9,505 medical consultations.
  • UNRWA conducted another 6,154 medical consultations through 281 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.
  • As of 19 May, 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 527 cases. UNRWA teams responded to cases in health centres and medical points through individual consultations, awareness sessions and support for cases of gender-based violence. UNRWA teams provided medical care for 372 post-natal and pregnant women at high risk. 
  • In early January, UNRWA received vaccines from UNICEF for its health centres. Eleven different types of vaccines were received (refrigerated and freezer storage). From January – 12 May nearly 100,000 children  were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis, tuberculosis and other diseases in UNRWA health centres.


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

Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • With the support of more than 300 counsellors, UNRWA continues to provide life-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 case assistance. targeting children , youth and adults, 
  •  Since the onset of the conflict, it is estimated that 620,000 IDPs including over 370,000 children have benefited from a total of 177,390 PSS sessions/activities. During the period 10 – 16  May 2024, a total of 28,837 IDPs ,including 18,306 children, benefited from these services. Specifically,  counselors addressed 1,796 individual consultations and provided 646 group awareness sessions benefiting 5,362 adults. Additionally, they conducted 660 recreational activities engaging 13,005 children. Counsellors also provided 511 EORE sessions to 5,073 adults and 5,301 children and contributed to supporting 96 protection cases.

 Food Security

  • As of 29 April, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 380,225 families (nearly 1.9 million people) have been reached, of whom 322,060 families have received two rounds of flour and another 189,182 families have received three rounds.

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 Louise Wateridge, UNRWA Communications Officer in Gaza:

"We desperately need a safe passage – not just for the humanitarian supplies but also for the humanitarian personnel."





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Makeshift shelters housing displaced families in Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip. May 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra