UNRWA Situation Report #48 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Monday, December 11, 2023

All information covers 7-9 December and is valid as of 9 December 2023 at 22:30  

Days 62-64 of Hostilities


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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • As of 9 December, an additional UNRWA colleague has been killed in a strike in on the Middle Area, bringing the total number of colleagues killed since the beginning of the hostilities to 134.
  • Since 7 October, up to 1.9 million people (or over 85 per cent of the population) have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, some multiple times. Families are very vulnerable as they are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety.
  • As of 9 December, nearly 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) were sheltering in 154 UNRWA installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the North and Gaza City.  
  • More than 1.1 million IDPs were sheltering in 97 UNRWA facilities in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas.

People among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Nuseirat refugee camp, 3 December 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
People among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Nuseirat refugee camp, 3 December 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • On 8 December, Israeli Security Forces (ISF) search and arrest operations continued in the West Bank. Overnight operations were reported in Tulkarem, Nur Shams,  Jalazone and Beit Jibrin refugee camps.  ISF operations continue to hinder critical service delivery. One UNRWA school was forced to operate remotely due to safety concerns for teachers and children, impacting the education of 1,500 children.

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, between 7 October and 9 December, at least 17,700 Palestinians were reported killed in Gaza, about 70 per cent of them are reported to be women and children.
  • Overall, around 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli Authorities, the vast majority on 7 October (OCHA).


The West Bank

  • According to OCHA, on 8 December, Israeli forces killed six Palestinians bringing the total to 259 killed by ISF in the West Bank, including 67 children. In addition, eight people, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers.


Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians 

The Gaza Strip

  • On 7 December, two incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA schools and the IDPs sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures is ongoing, initial reports indicate that one UNRWA school was directly impacted in Beit Lahiya, resulting in reports of seven IDPs killed; and an UNRWA school in Khan Younis was directly impacted, resulting in one IDP injury. 
  • On 8 December, so far 13 incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA installations (11 schools and two health facilities) and the IDPs sheltering there.  While verification of details and casualty figures is ongoing, initial reports indicate the following: four incidents impacted UNRWA installations with no casualties, including a distribution centre and a health centre in Jabalia, a school in Gaza City, and a UN international staff residence in Rafah; six incidents involved armed actor interference at UNRWA schools (four smoke bombs and two forceful evacuations); and three incidents caused IDP casualties, including two in north Gaza, one resulting in an IDP killed and one resulting in an IDP injured, and one in Gaza City where multiple IDP casualties were reported, pending further verification.
  • On 9 December, two incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA schools and the IDPs sheltering there, both in Khan Younis. While verification of details and casualty figures is ongoing, initial reports indicate: one school (training college) in Khan Younis was hit by bullets (no casualties); and smoke bombs affected another school.
  • 146 incidents impacting UNRWA premises have been reported since the beginning of the hostilities, including some premises hit multiple times. 40 different UNRWA installations were directly hit and 61 different installations sustained collateral damage. UNRWA has also received reports of the military use of its facilities on at least five occasions.
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 284 internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed, and at least a further 976 injured since the start of the hostilities. 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.


UNRWA Response  

The Gaza Strip  

UNRWA Shelters 

  • In total, nearly 1.3 million displaced people are now sheltering in 154 UNRWA installations.
  • The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters is 10,500, more than four times their capacity.



  • On average, there are 10,746 medical consultations in UNRWA health centres per day. 
  • Eight (out of 22) UNRWA health centres were still operational in the Middle and Southern areas, recording 18,208 patients visits, including Palestine Refugees and non-refugees, between 7 - 9 December. 
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 126 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres between 7-9 December.
  • UNRWA continued to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Between 257-297 health workers attended to a total of 30,102 patients between 7–9 December. Each team is composed of 1-2 doctors and a nurse. 
  • Between 7-9 December, the medical teams responded to 2,031 mental health cases, including individual consultations, awareness sessions and support for gender-based violence cases.


Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • UNRWA teams, including 196 social workers in the shelters, provided psychosocial first aid and other specialized protection services to IDPs. Since 7 October, 99,200 IDPs have been reached.
  • On 9 December, psychosocial support (PSS) efforts continued to be delivered to IDPs in UNRWA shelters by a team of 284 school counselors. In the reporting period, a total of 38,822 PSS sessions were provided, benefiting approximately 360,031 IDPs. Additionally, support was extended to 2,750 UNRWA staff members through a combination of in-person session and remote communication.


Food Security

  • UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters between 7 and 9 December in the Southern governorates. A total of 68,650 families have been reached so far.


Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

  • On 9 December, UNRWA continued to operate nine water wells pumping about 10,000 cubic metres to provide potable and domestic water. Potable water trucking operations to the shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis areas continue.
  • Shelters in Rafah and Middle area continued to receive potable water through tankers from the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility.
  • The Deir al Balah UNICEF Desalination Plant stopped operating due to security reasons.
  • Overcrowding continues to put a stress on IDP shelter sanitation services.  There remains a clear shortage of compactors and vehicles. Solid waste collection from the camps, emergency shelters and transfer to landfills continue but remain stretched in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. About 60 loads were transferred to temporary dumping sites.

    Quote from UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini

“An immediate ceasefire is needed to end the hell on earth in Gaza.”



ENDs -  

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People among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Nuseirat refugee camp, 3 December 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra