UNRWA Situation Report #82 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Monday, February 26, 2024

All information from 22–24 February 2024, is valid as of 24 February 2024 at 22:30 

Days 139-141 of Hostilities 



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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • Ground operations and heavy fighting continue across the Gaza Strip, in particular in Northern Gaza, Deir al Balah and Khan Younis.
  • Increased airstrikes in Rafah, including in residential areas without prior warnings 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 before 7 October.
  • Intense fighting in and around Khan Younis (southwest of Gaza) over the last five 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, even though there are reports of further fighting and airstrikes I those areas.
  • Both supply routes into the Gaza Strip remained inconsistent throughout the reporting period. On 22 February, 220 trucks entered the Gaza Strip via both Rafah and the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing points. The numbers dropped to only 50 trucks the following day. 
  • February saw very little aid coming in, with on average nearly 98 trucks entering per day, a 50 per cent reduction in supplies entering Gaza compared to January 2024.  The number of trucks entering Gaza remains well below the target of 500 per day, with significant difficulties bringing supplies in through both Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah. UNRWA trucks have struggled to enter the Gaza Strip due to security constraints and temporary closures at both crossings. UNRWA has at times had to temporarily stop discharging supplies due to security concerns. Security to manage the crossing has been severely impacted due to the killing of several Palestinian policemen in Israeli airstrikes near the crossings recently. 
  • As of 25 February, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is now 158.
  • As of 25 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 Security forces (ISF), 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 

The next West Bank, including East Jerusalem will be published on 28 February 2024. 

Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Deir al-Balah, the Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Deir al-Balah, 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 23 February, at least 29,514 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 69,616 Palestinians have been reportedly injured.

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023 – 23 February 2024, 399 Palestinians, including 102 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

  • 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 20 February 2024, according to video footage by IDF, the IDF reportedly entered a school in Bani Suhaila area, in Khan Younis, and made an excavation inside the yard, allegedly finding a tunnel underneath the installation.  The IDF reportedly also carried out a controlled explosion in the vicinity of the school. Damages resulting from the controlled explosion are yet to be assessed.
  2. On 22 February 2024, IDF troops reportedly opened fire towards a group of people at the main gate of a school in Al-Amal neighbourhood, west of Khan Younis. At least two people were killed. Their bodies were brought inside the school.
  3. On 23 February 2024, a school in Gaza City was directly hit by artillery fire and a number of shells. No injuries were reported, but several IDPs who were sheltering there fled from the school.
  4. On 23 February 2024, a container inside a school in Nuseirat Camp in the Middle Area was directly hit resulting in one person reportedly killed and one injured.
  5. On 24 February 2024, a distribution centre in Rafah (where other offices are also located) sustained damage and shrapnel was found inside the maintenance office due to a strike on an adjacent house.
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 403* internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,385* injured since the start of the war. UNRWA continues to verify 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. 
  • 332* 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 48 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 155 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  

* 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 24 February, 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 22 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, medication, vaccination, antenatal health care, postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients. 
  • A total of 708 health care staff remain working in the seven operational health centres and on 19 February they provided 14,073 medical consultations.
  • Another 9,553 medical consultations were conducted by 300 staff at shelters, and 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 Mawasi is currently 180,000.
  • Between 7 October – 19 February, UNRWA has provided over 2.4 million medical consultations across UNRWA health centres and UNRWA shelters.
  • As of 22 February, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services continued 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 1,242 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 measles, mumps and rubella, and others.  On 22 February, an additional 1,098 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 148,000 IDPs have been supported.

 

Food Security

  • As of 24 February, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 371,084 families have been assisted, of which 89,708 have received two rounds of flour.  

 

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 Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General:

“In just over four months in Gaza there have been more children, more journalists, more medical personnel, and more UN staff killed than anywhere in the world during a conflict.”

Read the full Letter from the Commissioner-General to the President of the UN General Assembly here.

 

#HearTheirVoices  

 

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Palestinian children sheltering in an UNRWA school in Deir al-Balah, the Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra