• Violent clashes and attacks continued in the West Bank this month. A Palestinian man died of injuries sustained in an arson attack last month; three Palestinian men were shot and killed by Israeli forces, following three separate knife attacks against Israelis; numerous Palestinians were injured in clashes with security forces and in settler attacks; Palestinian rock throwing also injured Israelis.
• The new school year started on 24 August for both UNRWA and Government schools despite initial fears that a financial crisis would delay the start for UNRWA students. Over 1.2 million Palestinian children returned to school, many of whom face hurdles and harassment on the way to and from school in the West Bank where children have to pass through check points and/or are physically and psychologically assaulted by settlers and Israeli soldiers..
• 182 Palestinians in the West Bank were displaced in the month of August due to demolitions of Palestinian owned structures by the Israeli Authorities, executed for lack of Israeli-issued building permits. Since the beginning of the year, 495 Palestinians, including 277 children, have been displaced by demolitions in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
• International Youth Day was celebrated between 10 and 19 August in Palestine. Adolescents from UNICEF-supported projects participated in various community initiatives. Adolescents in Gaza organized a press conference on their activities in Khuzaa IDP shelter and their messages to the world. 26,971 adolescents have participated in the programme in 2015.
• The WASH Cluster is providing emergency water supply for vulnerable communities following the shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant on 20 July. At least 130,000 litres were distributed to 80 water and wastewater installations, and work is ongoing. Of the 250,000 litres of fuel sought by the CMWU to continue operating the WASH services after the shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant, the WASH Cluster was able to secure 150,000 litres this month, leaving a shortfall of 100,000 litres.
• UNICEF supported a 21-year-old Palestinian female student and a 22-year-old Jordanian male student to represent the voice of Arab youth at a Youth Roundtable during the high-level World Assembly of Women (WAW!2015) held in Tokyo on 29 August. Both youth are active volunteers in their communities for positive social change.
On 24 August, 1,200,000 Palestinian students returned to school across the State of Palestine (700,000 in the West Bank and 500,000 in the Gaza Strip). Of those, 792,000 students attend 2,120 government schools, 113,000 students attend 450 private schools, and 295,000 students attend 350 UNRWA schools which opened along with the other schools on 24 August following the threat of delay due to a looming financial crisis that could have disrupted the start of the school year for Palestinian refugee children.
Throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, education is severely impeded in at-risk geographic areas, including: enclaves that are separated from the rest of the West Bank by the Barrier and other schools and/or communities near the Barrier, settlements, military areas, and isolated communities. Large numbers of Palestinian school-age children continue to experience serious harassment and hurdles on their way to and from school, as well as in the school yards and in their class rooms. Harassment includes children being physically and psychologically assaulted by settlers and soldiers. Settler children in Hebron routinely verbally harass, chase, throw trash, hit and throw stones at Palestinian schoolchildren going to and from school. Many children living in the H2 area of the old city of Hebron experience significant military presence daily as they cross checkpoints to access their schools and frequently have their schoolbags searched by armed soldiers.
The situation in the State of Palestine remains precarious with numerous reports of clashes, attacks, injuries and deaths within the month of August. A Palestinian man died of his wounds following an arson attack allegedly by a settler, an attack that killed his son on 31 July. His wife passed away early September and his other son is in serious condition. Three Palestinian men were shot and killed by Israeli forces following the stabbing of Israeli soldiers and a settler. A Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli forces after striking and injuring three Israeli soldiers with a car. Numerous injuries, including of children, were reported following clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians. A number of settler attacks on Palestinians were reported as well as stone throwing by Palestinians towards Israeli settlers. Palestinian and Israeli injuries were reported. Access restriction to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound by Israeli Authorities on 24 August caused tensions.
At least five rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza during the reporting period. Most dropped short but one landed in an open area, no damages or injuries were reported. Israeli forces retaliated with a missile targeting military site in Deir al Balah. Four Palestinian members of armed groups were injured. Israeli forces opened fire towards civilians in access restricted areas.
An unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonation killed five people in Rafah and injured 50. This brings the total number of fatalities due to UXOs since the August 2014 cease fire to 16. 172 people have been injured since the ceasefire, including 24 children, two of them in Rafah this month.
In August, the Israeli authorities demolished at least 109 Palestinian owned structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, displacing 182 Palestinians. The highest number of Palestinians displaced in a spate of a day since October 2012 was reported on 17 August and the following week saw the largest number of demolitions in six months. So far in 2015, 417 Palestinian owned structures have been demolished, resulting in the displacement of 495 Palestinians including 277 children.
Extreme heat disrupted programme activities in Gaza. Life skills programmes for adolescents had to be rescheduled and fuel for air conditioned facilities purchased to allow the adolescents to benefit from training during a heat wave.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has run out of 19 essential drugs and 10 types of consumables. Supplies destined to enter Gaza have been delayed, awaiting clearance by Israeli Authorities. Restriction of movements between Gaza and the West Bank is also hampering training of Ministry of Health staff. The restrictions include denial of access and permits not issued, lengthy processes from Israeli authorities and permits not issued on time.
The Rafah crossing, controlled by the Egyptian Authorities, was opened between 17 and 20 August. The crossing was open on exceptional basis to allow students, patients and those with multiple nationalities to exit and for those stuck in Egypt and other countries to return. The crossing has been continuously closed since October 2014, except for 29 days of partial openings. There is no regular schedule for the opening, and the limited days affect provision of humanitarian assistance.
Humanitarian leadership and coordination
UNICEF, as part of the UN Country Team, coordinates with the Palestinian Government to support its role in humanitarian response, early recovery and reconstruction. In cooperation with the Government and other UN partners, UNICEF participated extensively in the Palestinian Detailed Needs Assessment and will continue to support the development of the Recovery Framework and Strategy. UNICEF leads the Child Protection Working Group and affiliated groups on Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), and on monitoring and reporting of grave violations against children (Children and Armed Conflict reporting mechanism). UNICEF also leads the UN Theme Group on Social Protection, the WASH cluster and co-leads the Education cluster with Save the Children, both in Gaza and at the national level. In addition, UNICEF co-leads a Nutrition Working Group under the Health Cluster, in close cooperation with the MoH and WFP, in Gaza and at the national level.
Summary AnaIysis of Programme Response per Section
Education and Adolescents
During the reporting period, 600 teaching kits were distributed to 395 schools in the Gaza Strip, benefitting around 233,000 students in grades 1-12 in public schools. The kits include 34 different items such as pens, chalk, boxes of paper, scissors and crayons.
An agreement was signed with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), World Council of Churches to provide protective presence at checkpoints and gates with a view to protecting school children. The number of children and teachers that reach school safely are monitored and incidents are reported; the data is disaggregated by school, check point and sex. Information is shared with protection partners, international and local organisations for advocacy purposes and legal and psychosocial follow-up. During this new 2015-2016 school year approximately 3,800 children (30 percent girls) and over 300 teachers will be provided with protective accompaniment to enable safe and timely access to 26 schools.
UNICEF, through Al Nayzak, Ma'an, Pal Vision, SYFS and Tamer, provides adolescents with capacity building trainings and opportunities to positively participate in the society. A total of 26,971 adolescents (59 percent female) have participated in 2015. Various activities were undertaken during the reporting period, and 963 new adolescents joined the programme and received training in 21st century skills. Some adolescents are receiving training in social media and advocacy. A number of the trained adolescents organized open days for other adolescents, parents, community members, and decision-makers. The groups presented their initiatives, the reasons behind the selection of the chosen issues, and the planned activities to address the problems. The adolescents engaged in dialogue with decision-makers about their issues. 29 community initiatives were implemented by adolescents.
Adolescents supported by UNICEF's partners celebrated the International Youth Day. Various events and activities took place based on the "Youth Civic Engagement" theme from 10-19 August in Gaza and the West Bank. The activities included planting, mural painting, recreational activities, group discussions, soccer competition among youth organizations, dapka dancing and music. Through the activities, adolescents and local communities gained understanding of the roles that adolescents and youth can play as agents of positive change in their societies. On the actual Youth Day (12 August), adolescents in Gaza had a press conference where they read a statement about their activities in Khuzaa IDP shelter and what they learned. Adolescents from the IDP shelter delivered a message for the world to be aware of their situation, alleviate their suffering and participate in improving their living conditions.
Since January 2015, UNICEF with its child protection implementing partners, Ma'an Development Center, Tamer Institute for Community Education and the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), was able to reach 35,918 children (18,288 girls and 17,630 boys) through structured psychosocial support services, including individual and group counselling. In addition, 429 children (185 girls and 244 boys) benefitted from specialized mental health support services provided by the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP).
In addition to psychosocial support interventions, UNICEF cooperated with Ma'an and TAMER to deliver child protection services through 24 Family Centres operating across the Gaza Strip. Since January 2015, At least 15,518 children (7,848 girls and 7,670 boys) and 21,219 caregivers (15,207 females and 6012 males) were reached through the centers with life skills education and parent-child interaction programs. The family centers and emergency psychosocial teams also provided caregivers with awareness raising sessions on child protection.
In Gaza, since May, UNICEF supported MOSA, Ma'an, TAMER and GCMHP to establish a case management system reaching 233 most vulnerable children (91 girls and 142 boys) and their families. MoSA responds to extremely vulnerable children, children who are at risk of harm, and children who have been exposed to violence and abuse. Case managers in the family centers and the GCMHP respond to the broader needs of vulnerable children and their families. The process includes registration, a comprehensive assessment, planning, and follow-up support over a period of weeks, guided by the individual needs of the child and family. NRC is providing field support to all MoSA and UNICEF funded case managers. In partnership with members of the Gender Based Violence Working Group (GBVWG) and Child Protection Working Group (CPWG) the existing Child Protection Referral Pathways is being expanded to include the response to GBV and a service directory. With UNICEF support, NRC also leads the task force on case management, which is currently reviewing the piloted case management forms, developing and expanding assessment and monitoring tools, and establishing a case conferencing model.
A total of 43,573 children (21,572 girls and 22,001 boys) and 26,168 caregivers (17,668 females and 8,500 males) received explosive remnants of war risk education through radio spots and awareness raising in Family Centres. Over 95,004 governmental primary school children across the Gaza Strip received ERW risk education as part of their school curriculum.
To address concerns of exposure to the summer heat (in excess of 45 degree Celsius in the shade) and to respond to child protection and psychosocial support needs in under-served communities UNICEF set up five mobile centres through the Tamer Institute for Community Education. These are operational between August and November in areas with severe damage to properties, including Khuza'a, Beit Hanoun, Al Shoka and Juhor ad-Dik, and Al-Malalha. The centers are safe-spaces made from tents with adjacent covered areas/green spaces and cool outdoors play equipment. The centers are implementing a range of activities including expressive arts, creative writing, sports, and organize excursions to clubs and swimming pools. Children are screened for case management needs and if required, referred to a case manager for support. Tamer leads field-level coordination in all five locations in close partnership with UNICEF and the CPWG in order to guarantee a comprehensive package of interventions, avoid duplications and gaps.
The CPWG, established an inter-agency task force to implement the preparedness activities outlined in the CPWG contingency plan. This included establishing five Governorate coordination focal points linked to the CPWG and supporting MOSA with the establishment of a structure, the development of SOPs, a referral framework and tools for Government Collective Centre Protection Teams. This is to be activated in the event of an emergency to identify and ensure coordinated service delivery inside the collective centres to vulnerable individuals in need of protection services.
Since January, members of the UNICEF led Child Protection Working Group and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Working Group in Gaza co-led by UNICEF/WHO reached 68,895 children with structured group and individual counselling services, and 1,177 children with specialized mental health services. A further 38,298 adults have benefitted from structured psychosocial activities and counselling. In addition, 140,792 children and 41,511 adults have received other child protection services such as case management, awareness raising on child labour, children/caregivers interaction programs and life skills education.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
UNICEF, in partnership with GVC, supported the most vulnerable communities in water scarce areas in Area C in the West Bank to access water. Water is provided through a coupon system at a subsidized rate of 10 NIS/m3. 5,500 people, half of them children, benefitted from a total of 15,000 m3 of water distributed.
The WASH Cluster is providing emergency water supply for vulnerable communities following the shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant on 20 July. At least 130,000 litres were distributed to 80 water and wastewater installations, and work is ongoing. Of the 250,000 litres of fuel sought by the CMWU to continue operating the WASH services after the shutdown of the Gaza Power Plant, the WASH Cluster was able to secure 150,000 litres this month, leaving a shortfall of 100,000 litres.
Child Health & Nutrition
Sixty-six tons of drugs and consumables procured off-shore for the Ministry of Health (MoH) and received last month in Israel are still awaiting clearance from Israeli Authorities for entry to Gaza. From the 66 tons, 60 percent will be used immediately by the MoH and the remaining 40 percent will be pre-positioned in most needed areas, including first aid kits.
During the reporting period, 8,278 women benefitted from breast-feeding and complementary awareness sessions on mother and child care. Since January 2015, 40,315 women have increased their awareness while 3,488 mothers and new-borns have benefitted from specialized Post-Natal Home Visits (PNHV). This month, over 548 high-risk mothers and new-borns underwent medical check-ups and received health care services. In order to scale up the PNHV Programme, post-natal child care was started in 18 clinics all across the Gaza Strip. Mother and Child Health (MCH) clinics conduct medical check-ups of new-borns starting a week after birth, in addition to pre-natal and vaccination programmes.
Community Health Workers continue to provide counselling to people living in caravans spread around the Gaza Strip. The total number of IDPs living in nearly 240 caravans is around 1,450 persons. Fifteen counsellors are providing support at community level.
The #Gaza4children campaign continued as the UNICEF advocacy and communication team engaged Gaza children and adolescents and helped them to raise their voices. The #Gaza4children campaign continued; the one-year anniversary was marked by a video package and the #51days51children initiative on social media that was launched in July and continued in August. The initiatives resulted in wide media coverage and higher awareness of the need to reconstruct Gaza and prioritize children's needs. A story on UNICEF's psychosocial support to most affected children in Gaza was also published on UNICEF's website.
1 The indicator was changed to reflect the number of cases documented. Previously it was the number of children affected.
2 The voucher programme for school supplies and materials was expanded resulting in more beneficiaries than the target.
3 The original target mistakenly did not include 300 teachers, resulting in more beneficiaries than the target.
4 Offshore procurement is in process.
Meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of affected children and families in the State of Palestine will contribute to reduced tensions and increased stability. In order to achieve this goal, additional funds are required to expand existing programmes that are being successfully implemented on the ground in the following sectors: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education /Adolescents, Child Protection, Social Protection, Health and Nutrition.
UNICEF wishes to express its deep gratitude to all public and private sector donors for the contributions and pledges received, which have made the current response possible. 'Un-earmarked' funding gives UNICEF essential flexibility to direct resources and ensure the delivery of life-saving supplies and interventions to where they are needed most. Continued donor support is critical to continue scaling up the response.
UNICEF State of Palestine: http://www.unicef.org/oPt/
UNICEF State of Palestine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unicefstateofpalestine
UNICEF State of Palestine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNICEFpalestine
UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: http://www.unicef.org/appeals/state of palestine.html
Whom to contact for further information:
Solrun Maria Olafsdottir
M&E Gender Specialist, UNICEF State of Palestine