Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey
West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine
The designations employed and the representation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO, UNRWA, WFP or their donors, concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.
Overall, the surge in food insecurity mainly reflects the deterioration of socio-economic conditions in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (increasing unemployment and contracting purchasing power), resulting from the combination of sustained economic constraints and of the shock generated by the PA fiscal crisis in late 2012.2 Indeed, even though all public wages delayed during the second half of 2012 were ultimately paid, the survey noted a strong correlation between the uncertainty around the payment schedule and a significant reduction in the consumption levels of many public servants, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
The 2012 trends differed significantly in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. While in both regions the SEFSec estimates show a sharp drop in the share of households categorized as food secure, the ‘absorption’ of these households into the lower categories diverges between the two regions. In the West Bank, the ‘marginally secure’ and ‘vulnerable’ groups expanded, thus limiting the increase of the ‘food insecure’ group to two percentage points. This pattern seems to be due to the ability of the West Bank population to further rely on various coping strategies (an assumption confirmed by the wider support provided by friends and relatives in 2012). By 2012, an estimated 19 percent of households were assessed as food insecure in the West Bank.
In the Gaza Strip, the collapse of the food secure group directly corresponded to an increase in the food insecure category which soared, from 44 percent of households in 2011, to an alarming 57 percent in 2012. As in the previous three years, the vast majority contrast, UNRWA was the most frequently reported source of assistance in the Gaza Strip, followed by relatives and friends and the Ministry of Social Affairs. Assistance providers struggled to maintain their ability to pull households out of the food insecure category; providers clearly could not keep pace with the rapidly increasing pre-assistance food insecurity rates and with the considerable deepening food insecurity gap – particularly in the Gaza Strip.