UNRWA Situation Report #90 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Friday, March 15, 2024

All information from 1213 March 2024, is valid as of 13 March 2024 at 22:30   


Days 158-159 of Hostilities   

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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • Intense Israeli Security Forces (ISF) bombardment from the air, land and sea continued across much of the Gaza Strip, resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement and destruction of civilian infrastructure.  Israeli forces airstrikes continue also in heavily populated Rafah in southern Gaza. 

  • On 13 March 2024, UNRWA released a statement on at least one UNRWA staff member killed and another 22 injured when Israeli Forces hit a food distribution centre and a warehouse in the eastern part of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.   The distribution centre that was hit is one of the two main distribution centres in Rafah which provides life-saving emergency food assistance and other basic supplies like blankets, clothes and hygiene kits.   

  • UNFPA reported that only two out of the 12 partially functional hospitals are providing maternity services, and that up to 180 women are giving birth every day.   Safe spaces for pregnant women and new mothers to deliver are becoming increasingly difficult to find, leading to an increased risk of infection and communicable diseases, compounded by the lack of clean water1.  UNRWA continues to provide essential health services in seven out of 22 health centres, including support to complex pregnancy cases.    On 12 March, Save the Children published a report2 highlighting that children’s repeated and long-term exposure to traumatic events and oppressive living conditions in Gaza had already created a mental health catastrophe. 

  • Access to people in Gaza City and Northern Gaza remains insufficientAccording to OCHA, only 25 per cent of aid missions planned to the North to date have been facilitated by the Israeli Authorities.   

  • According to OCHA, child malnutrition levels in northern Gaza are extreme, with now at least 23 children reported to have died from malnutrition and dehydration in northern Gaza.  

  • The first 14 days of March saw an average of 169 aid trucks per day crossing into the Gaza Strip. This remains well below the operational capacity of both border crossings and the target of 500 per day, with challenges at both Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah. Security to manage the crossings has been severely impacted due to the killing of several Palestinian policemen in Israeli airstrikes near the crossings in early February.   

  • As of 13 March, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 166. 

  • As of 13 March, 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 weeks, a significant number of displaced people have moved further south.   


*This includes 1 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 UNRWA shelters in Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates. UNRWA currently estimates that the population of Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates is up to 250,000 people. 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 ISF, and the constant need for safer locations have resulted in people being displaced multiple times. 

**UNRWA reported on 15 January 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.  

[1] “Gaza is at breaking point”: Health workers and patients describe an unfolding catastrophe in Rafah - occupied Palestinian territory | ReliefWeb

[2] Trapped and Scarred: The compounding mental harm inflicted on Palestinian children in Gaza | Save the Children’s Resource Centre

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem 

  • On 12 and 13 March, six Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, including three children. One was reported to be a 12-year-old boy shot by ISF in Shu’fat Camp in East Jerusalem.   
  • During the same period, 38 ISF search and arrest operations were recorded with 35 detentions. ISF operations continued to operate in Jenin Camp and Jenin city in the northern West Bank, with two Palestinians killed. Significant damage to camp infrastructure, including roads, was reported. One of these operations took place during working hours on the morning of 12 March, forcing UNRWA staff and camp residents to shelter inside UNRWA installations.  
  • On 13 March, ISF reportedly made preparations for a demolition in Hebron delivering a demolition order for a house belonging to a Palestinian resident from Jenin Camp believed to be in Israeli detention.  
  • Israeli settler’ violence was reported in northern West Bank, with settlers reportedly throwing stones at Palestinian houses and setting fire to a Palestinian vehicle in Burin on 12 March. On 13 March, Israeli settlers shot at Palestinian houses, causing property damage.  

A child at an UNRWA health centre in Rafah, Southern Gaza Strip, March 2024. © UNRWA Photo by Muhammad Al-Hinnawi

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 13 March, at least 31,272 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 73,024 Palestinians have been reportedly injured.  


The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023– 13 March 2024, 418 Palestinians, including at least 106 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  Since the beginning of the year, a total of 109 Palestinians have been killed, compared with 80 in the same period in 2023, the majority by ISF. 


Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians 

The Gaza Strip

So far one incident was recorded between 12 and 13 March 2024.  There is one reported incident which occurred earlier but information only became available during this reporting period.  

  • UNRWA is working to verify the details of incidents reportedly affecting its premises. Further information will be provided once it becomes available. 

  • Different incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA installations and internal displaced people (IDPs) sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures remain ongoing, initial reports indicate: 

[LATE REPORT] On 7 February 2024 (estimated date), at an unknown time, ISF reportedly fired tank shells at the eastern building of school in Gaza town causing damage to several classrooms. It was reported that an IDF tank also caused damage to classrooms . The IDF also excavated the schoolyard. No injuries were reported.   

On 13 March 2024, at 11:47, an ISF drone with a mounted weapon fired at the yard located between the Rafah warehouse and Distribution Centre (east of Rafah). Five people were killed, including one UNRWA staff member and another 22 UNRWA team members injured.  

Total numbers are as follows: 

  • 348* 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 51 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 160 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.   

  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 408* internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in UNRWA shelters were killed and at least another 1,406* 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.  


 *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 13 March, 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.   



  • As of 7 March, seven (out of 22) UNRWA health centres were operational. Of those, one is in the north, two are in the Middle Area, one is in Khan Younis and three are in Rafah. These health centres provide primary health care services, including outpatient services, non-communicable disease care, medication, vaccination, antenatal and postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients.   
  • A total of 722 health care staff continue to work in operational health centres and on 5 March they provided 12,752 medical consultations.  
  • Another 9,019 medical consultations were conducted by 332 staff at shelters, including 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 377,854.  
  • Between 7 October and 7 March, UNRWA provided over 3 million medical consultations across its health centres and shelters. 
  • As of 7 March, UNRWA provided mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services in the Middle and Khan Younis areas with teams of psychiatrists and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.  UNRWA teams responded to 1,331 cases in health centres and in medical points through individual consultations, awareness sessions and support for cases of gender-based violence.  UNRWA teams provided medical care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women to 330 women.

Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • UNRWA counselors continue to provide psychosocial support services, including psychosocial first aid, PSS consultations, group awareness sessions including sessions on managing psychological fatigue, in addition to implementing recreational activities. 
  • In the last week, 16,630 IDPs, including 10,006 children, received PSS services. Since the onset of the conflict, around 570,000 IDPs have received support, including more than 300,000 children. During the reporting period, UNRWA teams conducted a total of 2,203 sessions/activities bringing the total to 145,583 sessions/activities since the start of the conflict. 

Food Security

  • As of 13 March, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 374,800 families were reached, of those 164,082 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. 

Statement from Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General: 

Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centres in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine. […] The United Nations, its personnel, premises and assets must be protected at all times. Since this war began, attacks against UN facilities, convoys and personnel have become commonplace in blatant disregard to international humanitarian law.” 




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A child at an UNRWA health centre in Rafah, Southern Gaza Strip, March 2024. © UNRWA Photo by Muhammad Al-Hinnawi