UNRWA Situation Report #99 on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

Thursday, April 4, 2024

All information from 2 – 3 April 2024, is valid as of 3 April 2024 at 22:30   

Days 179-180 of Hostilities 



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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

 

As of 8 April, the Gaza Strip update will shift to twice a week, every Monday and Thursday.

  • Israeli Security Forces (ISF) continued military operations across the Gaza Strip, resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure.  Airstrikes and bombardment continued in north Gaza, Khan Younis and Rafah where UNRWA estimates a total of 1.2 million people are now living, the vast majority in formal and informal shelters. 

  • Seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) staff were killed in multiple Israeli airstrikes while travelling in a convoy in Deir al Balah (middle areas) after reportedly informing the Israeli army of their movement.

  • Following the Israeli attack on WCK convoy, both WCK[1] and ANERA[2] confirmed that they will be suspending operations due to concerns of safety and security of staff.  Similarly, the Secretary-General's spokesman confirmed that the United Nations has decided to suspend its night movements in Gaza for at least the next 48 hours due to security concerns, which "impact our personnel on the ground and the civilian population we are trying to help."
  • UN experts condemned the destruction and killing at Al-Shifa Hospital following a two-week siege and urged UN Member States to use all their powers to stop the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Al-Shifa was the largest hospital and main referral centre in the Gaza Strip, with 750 beds, 26 operating rooms, 32 intensive care rooms, a dialysis department and a central laboratory.  Its destruction now means that only 10 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals remain functional, several only operating partially. 
  • Oxfam reported[3] that people in northern Gaza have been forced to survive on an average of 245 calories a day since January. Over 300,000 people are believed to still be trapped there, unable to leave and are surviving on less than 12 per cent of the average daily calorie needs. 
  • Gaza is a death trap for children. According to Save the Children[4] more than 13,800 children have been killed in Gaza and over 12,009 children have been injured in Gaza.   UNICEF meanwhile reported at least 1,000 children have had one or both legs amputated.
  • The United Nations, World Bank and European Union released a joint Interim Damage Assessment summary[5]. Using satellite imagery to assess damage the report found the following:
    • The ongoing conflict has damaged or destroyed approximately 62 per cent of all homes in Gaza,
    • The conflict has damaged or destroyed 84 per cent of all health facilities.
    • 625,000 children in Gaza are out of school as the education system has collapsed.

The ongoing conflict has caused unprecedented devastation, with severe social and mental health consequences for women, youth, and vulnerable populations

  • The majority of the nearly 980 NGOs registered in Gaza have ceased operations.
  • There has been no significant change in the volume of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza or improved access to the north.  Since the beginning of April, a daily average of 169 aid trucks have crossed into Gaza per day via the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) and Rafah land crossings. This remains well below the operational capacity of both border crossings and the target of 500 trucks per day.   
  • Since 7 October, UNRWA provided over 1.8 million people, or 85 per cent of the population, with flour.  In addition, nearly 600,000[6] people have received emergency food parcels and almost 3.6 million patient consultations have been provided at health centres and points. UNRWA continues to provide storage and distribution for other agencies’ food commodities.
  • As of 3 April, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 177, an increase of one.
  • As of 1 April, up to 1.7 million* people (over 75 per cent of the population)** have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, the majority 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 people living 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 300,000 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.

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

From 8 April the West Bank, including East Jerusalem update will shift to once a week, every Monday. 

  • Between 2 and 3 April, there were at least 67 ISF search and arrest operations recorded, and 86 Palestinians detained. This included seven Palestinians who were detained from Qalandiya refugee camp during an ISF operation early on 2 April, and six Palestinians who were detained from Shu’fat refugee Camp during an ISF operation on the morning of 3 April. Both refugee camps are in the East Jerusalem area. 
  • As a result of the use of bulldozers in ISF operations, damage to infrastructure including roads was reported in Far’a refugee Camp and Jenin, both in the northern West Bank, on 3 April. There were two Palestinians killed between 2 and 3 April, both died from earlier-incurred injuries. 
  • In the southern West Bank, Israeli settlers chased and assaulted Palestinians in Masafer Yatta on 2 April, continuing a pattern of settler harassment in the area. On 3 April,  settlers confiscated livestock belonging to Palestinians in Tuqu’, also in the southern West Bank.

Displaced Palestinians preparing food to break the fastin the centre of Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
Displaced Palestinians preparing food to break the fastin the centre of Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 3 April, at least 32,975 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 75,577 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023– 1 April 2024, 440 Palestinians, including at least 110 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

 

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.

Please note that no new armed conflict incident was reported between 2 - 3 April 2024.

  • 352* 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 52 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 161 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  
  • UNRWA estimates that in total at least 409* IDPs sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,409* 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. 

 *The numbers are subject to change once further verifications have been conducted.

UNRWA Response  

The Gaza Strip  

UNRWA Shelters 

  • As of 3 April, 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 28 March, eight (out of 24[1]) UNRWA health centres were operational. Of those, one is in the north, two are in the Middle Area, two are 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. 
  • On 13 March, UNRWA opened a temporary health centre to provide health services for the people in al-Mawasi, west of Khan Younis. 
  • Nearly 747 healthcare staff continue to work in operational health centres. On 28 March, they provided   12,352 medical consultations.
  • UNRWA conducted another 8,323 medical consultations through 339 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 403,447.
  • As of 28 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 1,173 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 363 post-natal and pregnant women at high risk. 

[1] Pre-conflict UNRWA had 22 health centres, following the conflict an additional 2 temporary health centres are operational in the Mawasi area. 

 

Psychosocial support (PSS)

  • With the support of 300 counselors, UNRWA continues to provide life-saving psychosocial support (PSS) services in Gaza, including psychosocial first aid, individual and group counseling, fatigue management sessions, recreational activities, Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) for children and youth, as well as protection case assistance.
  • Since the onset of the conflict, it is estimated that 570,000 IDPs, including over 300,000 children, have benefited from a total of 150,407 PSS sessions/activities. During the period 18-25 March, 21,768 IDPs, including 13,946 children, benefited from these services. Specifically, UNRWA conducted 1,129 individual consultations and provided 643 group awareness sessions benefiting 6,285 adults. Moreover, UNRWA organized 506 recreational activities engaging 12,131 children. Additionally, UNRWA delivered 134 EORE sessions reaching 1,537 adults and 1,815 children and contributed to supporting 152 protection cases.

 

Food Security

  • As of 28 March, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 379,461 families (1,837,805 individuals) have been reached, of whom 236,505 families have received two rounds of flour and a further 34,321 families have received three rounds of flour.

 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Due to the security situation, in combination with challenges to internet connectivity, we have been unable to provide any additional updates since Sitrep 67. 


Interview from The Telegraph with Juliette Touma, UNRWA Director of Communications

“Too many aid workers have been killed. Too many medical workers, too many journalists, too many children.”

ENDs- 

 


 

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Displaced Palestinians preparing food to break the fastin the centre of Deir al-Balah, Middle Areas, Gaza Strip, April 2024 @ 2024 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra