UNRWA Situation Report #77 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

All information from 11–12 February 2024, is valid as of 12 February 2024 at 22:30 

Days 128-129 of Hostilities  


 

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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • Increased airstrikes in Rafah have heightened fears which would further hamper overstretched humanitarian operations. Nearly 1.5 million people are in Rafah, more than six times the population in comparison with before 7 October.
  • Intense fighting in/around Khan Younis (southwest of Gaza) over the last three weeks is causing loss of life and damage to civilian infrastructure, including UNRWA’s largest shelter in the southern area, the Khan Younis Training Centre (KYTC). This is forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee further south towards Rafah, which is severely overcrowded, with reports of Israeli Forces’ strikes in Rafah on 12 February.
  • According to OCHA since the start of 2024, humanitarian partners had planned 77 missions to deliver aid and undertake assessments to areas to the north of Wadi Gaza. Of those, only 12 were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, three missions where partial humanitarian objectives were met, 14 were impeded, 39 were denied access, and nine were postponed by the UN agencies. Facilitated missions primarily included food distribution, while the access of missions to support critical hospitals and facilities providing water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) services remained among those overwhelmingly denied. During the same period, there were 189 planned missions to areas assessed as necessitating coordination to the south of Wadi Gaza. Of these, 107 were facilitated, two missions where partial humanitarian objectives were met, 18 were initially facilitated but then impeded, 48 were denied access, and 14 were postponed internally. Missions to areas not requiring coordination south of Wadi Gaza are not included in the above. 
  • The number of trucks entering into Gaza remains well below the 500 trucks a day target, with significant difficulties in bringing supplies in through both Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah.  As of 12 February, the Rafah border crossing was closed due to security concerns. 
  • As of 12 February, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is now 156.
  • As of 12 February, up to 1.7 million* people (over 75 per cent of the population) ** have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, some 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 days, a significant number of displaced people have moved further south. 

 

*This includes one million individuals residing in or near emergency shelters or informal shelters. As of 12 October, approximately 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were recorded in north Gaza and Gaza governorates. 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 Israeli Forces, and the constant need for safer locations have resulted in people being displaced multiple times.

**UNRWA has reported in Situation Report 64 that up to 1.9 million IDPs are 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 

Several Israeli Security Forces (ISF) search and arrest operations leading to confrontations with Palestinians occurred between 8 - 12 February,

the following ISF search and arrest operations occurred:  

  • Early in the morning on 8 February, six Palestinians were detained during a search and arrest operation in Azzun, northern West Bank.
  • On 8 February, a Palestinian allegedly attempted to open fire against ISF soldiers at the Deir Sharaf roundabout, northern West Bank. ISF reportedly shot and killed him and took his body. ISF then closed the checkpoint in both directions. Later that morning, clashes erupted between Palestinians and ISF, where ISF reportedly fired live ammunition, injuring two Palestinians.
  • On the night of 8 February, ISF reportedly fired live ammunition clashes with Palestinians in Beit Furik, northern West Bank, injuring six Palestinians.
  • Overnight from 8 – 9 February, ISF conducted a search and arrest operation in Tulkarm, northern West Bank. Two Palestinians were detained.
  • On 8 February, five Palestinians from Ya'bad town were detained by ISF at a mobile checkpoint in Ya'bad-Kufeirit junction, northern West Bank. ISF also reportedly confiscated two concrete trucks, a pump and two vehicles belonging to Palestinians.
  • On 8 February, a Palestinian administrative detainee from Al- Dhahiriya town died in an Israeli prison reportedly as a result of medical negligence.
  • On 9 February, ISF reportedly fired live ammunition during clashes with Palestinians in Beta Beita, northern West Bank.  A Palestinian child was killed, and two others injured. A Palestinian was physically assaulted by ISF and two Palestinians were detained during the incident.
  • On 10 February, ISF reportedly held a PRCS ambulance at Deir Sharaf checkpoint, delaying its access.
  • On 10 February, ISF reportedly opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle in Kharayib Umm Al Lahm area near Biddu village, central West Bank. Two Palestinians, including a child, were reportedly injured.
  • On 10 February, a Palestinian reportedly ran over and injured an ISF officer near the village of Shabtin, and then fled the scene. ISF conducted a search operation in the area.
  • On 10 February, ISF conducted a search and arrest operation in Beit Ummar, southern West Bank. ISF reportedly fired live ammunition injuring one Palestinian, and 16 Palestinians were detained. ISF also reportedly detonated an explosive device between Palestinian houses and confiscated around 20 vehicles. ISF reportedly closed all entrances to the town with earth mounds.
  • On 11 February, ISF reportedly shot and killed a Palestinian child who allegedly tried to stab an ISF soldier in the vicinity of El Wad Road in Jerusalem Old City, central West Bank. One ISF personnel was reported lightly injured from bullet shrapnel.
  • On 11 February, ISF shot and killed a Palestinian who allegedly attempted to stab an ISF soldier in the vicinity of Aqbat Hasna area near Bittir Battir, southern West Bank.
  • On 11 February, ISF detained five Palestinians at a military checkpoint in Haret Jaber area near Al Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron old city, southern West Bank.
  • On 11 February, ISF detained five Palestinians who were working on their land near the Barrier in Idhna, southern West Bank.
  • Early on the morning on 12 February, ISF conducted a search and arrest operation in Ar Ram & Dahiyat al Bareed, central West Bank. ISF reportedly opened fire at Palestinians injuring two Palestinians with live ammunition. Seven Palestinians were detained.
  • On 12 February, ISF conducted a search and arrest operation in Tell, northern West Bank. ISF reportedly opened fire in clashes with Palestinians injuring a Palestinian with live ammunition, and detaining six Palestinians.
  • On 12 February, ISF conducted a search and arrest operation in Balata refugee camp,and detained three Palestinians. An exchange of fire was reported between Palestinians and ISF.
  • On 12 February, clashes were reported between Palestinians and ISF during a funeral in Bab Ar Rahma Islamic Cemetery near the Lions' Gate in Jerusalem Old city, central West Bank. ISF reportedly physically assaulted Palestinians, injuring one, and five Palestinians were detained.

Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Nuseirat play amid difficult living conditions, Middle Area, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Nuseirat play amid difficult living conditions, Middle Area, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

 

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 12 February, at least 28,340 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 67,984 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023–10 February 2024, 384 Palestinians, including 97 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. 
  • Last year (2023) was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the UN began recording casualties in 2005.

Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians 

The Gaza Strip

Please see below the incidents for the period 11-12 February 2024 (noting that some incidents occurred earlier but UNRWA only received information during the current reporting period):

  • UNRWA is working to verify the details of incidents reportedly affecting UNRWA premises. Further information will be provided once it becomes available. 
  • Different incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA installations and IDPs sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures remain ongoing, initial reports indicate:
  1. On 5 February 2024, two UNRWA contracted medical personnel sustained moderate injuries due to a strike that hit a school in Khan Younis. The medical team was providing medical assistance to five injured IDPs at the medical point inside the school.
  2. On 5 February 2024, a distribution centre in the Middle Area sustained minor collateral damage due to a strike on a nearby house.
  3. From 7 February 2024 to 10 February 2024, ISF troops reportedly conducted military operations inside the UNRWA Gaza Headquarters, the Gaza Training College and the Gaza Field Office in Gaza City. Severe damage was reported to the buildings, rooms were set on fire and excavations were made inside the premises.
  4. From 7 February 2024 to 10 February 2024, ISF troops conducted military operations inside a Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Impaired in Gaza City, causing severe damage to the building and the outside wall perimeter. Additionally, an excavation was made in the internal yard and several rooms of the centre were burnt.
  5. From 7 February 2024 to 10 February 2024, ISF troops reportedly conducted military operations inside a school in Gaza city. Excavations were made in the schoolyard and at the western side of the school.  The outside perimeter wall was destroyed, and several classrooms were burnt.
  6. On 10 February 2024, an unexploded missile was found inside a school in Khan Younis.
  7. On 12 February 2024, a health centre in Rafah sustained collateral damages due to a strike hitting a mosque nearby. All the windows on the third floor from the northern side of the building were broken. No injuries were reported among the IDPs sheltering in the health centre.
  8. On 12 February 2024, smoke bombs were reportedly fired at a school in Khan Younis resulting in a fire inside the school. No injuries were reported.
  9. On 12 February 2024, ISF ordered and enforced the evacuation of IDPs sheltering at a school in Khan Younis. After being forcefully evacuated from the school, IDPs were reportedly subjected to scanning at checkpoints. Several people were reportedly detained including an UNRWA staff member.

 

  • 318* 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 38 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 153 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 396* IDPs sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,381* 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  

Due to the security situation in combination with interruptions in internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 75.  

UNRWA Shelters 

  • As of 12 February, in total, nearly 1.7 million displaced people are now sheltering across emergency shelters (UNRWA and public shelters), informal sites or in close vicinity of UNRWA shelters and distribution sites and within host communities. 

 

Due to the security situation and ISF evacuation orders, between 150-155 UNRWA installations continue to shelter IDPs.  Shelters are very congested.   

  

Health 

Due to the security situation in combination with internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 75. 

 

Psychosocial support (PSS)

Due to the security situation in combination with internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 75. 

 

Food Security

Due to the security situation in combination with internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 75. 

 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Due to the security situation in combination with internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since sitrep 67. 


Quote from Noor, student at the UNRWA Training College in Gaza:

“Every morning, I wake up to find myself in a classroom, living my life in a school, while myself and thousands of others are deprived of education amid this displacement. UNRWA schools and facilities have become our home.”

 

#HearTheirVoices  

 

ENDs -  


 

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Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Nuseirat play amid difficult living conditions, Middle Area, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra