UNRWA Situation Report #80 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

All information from 18–19 February 2024, is valid as of 19 February 2024 at 22:30 

Days 135-136 of Hostilities 

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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • Increased airstrikes in Rafah have heightened fears that they will 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 and around Khan Younis (southwest of Gaza) over the last four 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. At the same time, population movements out of Rafah and towards Deir Al Balah and Nuseirat refugee camps in the Middle Area have been reported, following intensified airstrikes on Rafah.
  • As of 19 February, Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis continues to be besieged by Israeli forces.  Access was finally granted on 18 February and UN and Palestine Red Crescent Society officials visited the hospital and managed to evacuate 14 patients; negotiations are on-going for the evacuation of the remaining patients, who are believed to number over 100. 
  • There are reportedly 10,000 displaced people within the hospital’s premises, including 300 medical personnel, and reportedly up to 70 medical personnel have been detained. On 16 February, Ministry of Health reported that eight patients had died due to a lack of oxygen supplies and a number of people who were relocated to a building within the Nasser Hospital premises had no food, water or baby formula.   
  • The number of trucks entering Gaza remains well below the target of 500 per day, with significant difficulties in bringing supplies in through both Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah. The Food Security Cluster reported that a consistent food supply to serve the entire population continues to be hindered by frequent border closures.  Supplies of flour inside Gaza are extremely limited due to lack of access to the north and law and order challenges at the crossing.
    • During this period, UNRWA has at times had to temporarily stop discharging supplies due to security concerns.  Furthermore, provision of security to manage law and order at the crossing has been severely impacted due to de facto-police authorities being targeted over the last few weeks. 
  • As of 19 February, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is now 158.
  • As of 19 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 reported 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 

  • Between 15 - 19 February, more than 129  search operations by ISF were reported across the West Bank, averaging more than 25 per day. At least 92 Palestinians were detained during this period, including four children. Two Palestinians were shot dead in Tulkarm Camp, northern West Bank, on 18 February during an search operation that also resulted in the evacuation of UNRWA schools in the refugee camp.
  • Clashes in Shu’fat Camp, East Jerusalem, escalated over 16-18 February after a camp resident allegedly opened fire at Israelis at a bus station in Kiryat Malakhi settlement, killing two and injuring four before being killed during the exchange of fire. Both live ammunition and tear gas were used on camp residents, and relatives of the Palestinian involved were detained or summoned for interrogation. 
  • A number of settler incidents were recorded between 15 February and 19 February. On 16 February in Kisan, southern West Bank, residential and agricultural structures and a vehicle were burnt by settlers. On 17 February in Asira al Qibliya, southern West Bank, settlers deployed a mobile checkpoint at the entrance to the village and assaulted Palestinian residents. On 18 February in Turmus’ayya, central West Bank, settlers attacked Palestinian houses, set fire to Palestinian vehicles, and sprayed anti-Arab slogans on the walls. On 19 February clashes between settlers, ISF and Palestinians were reported in Burqa, northern West Bank, wherein houses and vehicles were set on fire, tear gas was deployed, and Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulances were prevented from entering the village.
  • People walking in Deir Al-Balah amidst continued power outage, the Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
    People walking in Deir Al-Balah amidst continued power outage, the Middle Areas, 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 19 February, at least 29,092 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 69,028 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 


The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023 – 18 February 2024, 393 Palestinians, including 100 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

There are no new incidents to report during this period. 

Given that Israeli military operations are ongoing throughout the Gaza Strip including airstrikes and incursions and armed clashes in Gaza, Middle and Khan Younis areas, it cannot be excluded that there were incidents during this time, but  that current situation is making it difficult to assess them.    


  • 322* 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 45 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 1,383* 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 17 February, a total of 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. 
  • Due to the security situation and ISF evacuation orders, between 150-155 UNRWA installations continue to shelter IDPs. Shelters are very congested.  


  • As of 18 February, seven (out of 23) UNRWA health centres were operational. Of these, one is in the north, two are in Middle Area, one in Khan Younis and three are in Rafah.  Health centres provide primary health care services, including outpatient services, non-communicable disease care, medications, vaccinations, antenatal health care, postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients. 
  • A total of 631 health care staff remain working in the seven operational health centres and on 13 February they provided 12,469 medical consultations.
  • A further 8,779 medical consultations were conducted by 300 staff at shelters, and at the newly established medical points in Mawasi area to serve an influx of displaced persons from Khan Younis -- the total registered population in Mawasi is currently 180,000.
  • As of 18 February, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were continuing in the Middle and Khan Younis areas with teams of health professionals consisting of psychiatrists and three supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters. The teams responded to 1,133 cases in Health Centres and 52 in medical points through individual consultations, awareness sessions, and support for cases of gender-based violence.  
  • In early January UNRWA received vaccines from UNICEF for its health centres. Eleven different types of vaccines were received (refrigerated and freezer storage). This allowed for vaccinations to restart. Between 3 January and 3 February, over 22,300 children were vaccinated against diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella, and others.  On 17 February, an additional 878 children were vaccinated. 


Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • UNRWA continues to provide psychosocial support services including psychosocial first aid services, PSS consultations and intervention sessions, sessions on handling psychological fatigue, and group and recreational activities. Since the war, over 139,000 IDPs have been supported.


Food Security

  • As of 14 February, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. A total of 370,317 families have been reached so far.


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 Othman, 80-year-old refugee from Northern Gaza:

“How much longer must we endure this wretched plight? How much longer will our lives be defined by perpetual uncertainty and relentless specter of death?”




ENDs -  


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People walking in Deir Al-Balah amidst continued power outage, the Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra