UNRWA Situation Report #83 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

All information from 25–26 February 2024, is valid as of 26 February 2024 at 22:30 

Days 141-143 of Hostilities 



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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • The Humanitarian Country Team reported that humanitarian partners (including UNRWA) have been unable to reach northern Gaza, and increasingly parts of southern Gaza, safely Aid convoys reportedly continue to come under fire and are denied access by the Israeli Authorities 
  • Furthermore, according to OCHA there have been continued reports of shooting by Israeli forces at Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City.  
  • 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 six weeks is causing loss of life and damage to civilian infrastructure. This is forcing thousands of Palestinians to flee further south towards Rafah, which is severely overcrowdedAt 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 in those areas. 
  • Supply routes into the Gaza Strip have functioned inconsistently throughout the reporting period. Between 25 - 26 February, only 232 trucks entered the Gaza Strip via both Rafah and the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing points.  
  • February continues to see very little aid coming in, with on average of nearly 99 trucks entering per daywhereas approximately 150 trucks of supplies were entering Gaza per day in 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 crossingsUNRWA has at times had to temporarily stop dispatching 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.   
  •  In the period between 21 October 2023 and 20 February 2024, people have received the following: 

a.   27,029 metric tons of flour, including 17,300 metric tons from UNRWA 

b.   Delivered to Gaza: 

  • Biscuits and High Energy Biscuits: 2.7 million units 
  • Protein based food (beans, chicken, beefcanned meat): 7,745,678 cans 
  • Dairy items (Cheese): 6,449,674 units 

c.    Other food items: 1,976,056 US$ value  

d.    23.5 million litres of water via water bottles and water tankers have been delivered to Gaza 

e.    104,00 family hygiene kits were delivered to Gaza 

f.    Over 200,000 blankets were delivered to Gaza 

j.    196,000 mattresses 

h.    3.7 million diapers  

  • On 10 February, Education Cluster released its preliminary findings regarding damages to schools since the beginning of the conflict.  The report assessed that up to 44 per cent of UNRWA school buildings have been either directly hit or damaged.   
  • As of 26 February, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is now 158. 
  • As of 26 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 

  • Between 22 and 26 February, more than 150 ISF search operations were reported across the West Bank, averaging more than 30 per day. At least 124 Palestinians were detained during this period, including twelve children. 
  • An operation in Jenin Camp, northern West Bank, commencing in the evening of 22 February involved a drone strike on a Palestinian-owned vehicle, killing two Palestinians including a child. On the evening of 26 February an operation commenced in El Far’a Camp, northern West Bank, with at least two Palestinian fatalities reported. Damage to camp infrastructure including roads, caused by ISF bulldozers, was also recorded. 
  • On 22 February, live fire was exchanged between Palestinians and ISF at a checkpoint east of Jerusalem after two Palestinians purportedly opened fire near an Israeli settlement, resulting in one Israeli and three Palestinian fatalities. 
  • As of 26 February cement blocks were installed by ISF at the entrance of Bab Asbat (Lion’s Gate), in Jerusalem Old City, to prevent vehicular access. Between 22 -26 February, other closures at checkpoints and using roadblocks were reported in Bizarriya, Wadi an Nar, Shu’fat Camp, Az Za’ayyem and Sinjil.

Families seeking shelter in a demolished building in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, February 2024. © 2024 UNRWA Photo

 

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 26 February, at least 29,782 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 70,043 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023 – 23 February 2024, 400 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:
    • On 26 February, about 200 IDPs, including UNRWA staff, were forcefully evacuated by the ISF from a school in Khan Younis. It was reported that the evacuated IDPs had to go through a checkpoint. Men were reportedly divided in groups of five individuals and subjected to thorough searches, with some of them compelled to remove their clothing. Some individuals were then reportedly detained.
    • On 26 February, IDF tanks and bulldozers destroyed the main gate, part of the guard room, and caused damage to the generator of a school in Khan Younis. A female IDP, aged 20 years old, was killed in the school. Additionally, about 2,500 IDPs, including UNRWA staff, were ordered by the ISF to evacuate the school. The evacuated IDPs were reportedly subjected to invasive searches and arrests.
  • 335* 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 50 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 155 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 404* 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 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 26 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 24 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 continue to work in 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 al-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 24 February, an additional 1,270 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 26 February, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 371,208 families have been assisted, of which 91,278 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 Alaa, seventh-grade student displaced in Rafah:

“The place is very dark, and light only enters through narrow openings among the remnants of debris. What’s even more difficult is the smell of gunpowder left behind by the rockets after the destruction of the building.”

 

#HearTheirVoices  

 

ENDs -  


 

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UNRWA Situation Report #83 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem