Question of Palestine home || Permalink || About UNISPAL || Search

Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter

Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
12 July 2002


Geneva, 12 July 2002 - WFP's emergency operation to feed half-a-million Palestinians, struggling to cover their basic needs amid deteriorating living conditions, is 90 percent underfunded - two months after its launch.

The US$ 18.2 million appeal, which is currently relying on pre-existing stocks to meet demand, is severely short on Wheat Soya Blend and High Energy Biscuits.

The commodities are essential if WFP is to improve the nutritional status of children, women, the sick and elderly.

"WFP remains highly concerned about the current situation in the Palestinian territories. We urgently need more contributions as we have six months to go," said spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume in Geneva this week.


WFP launched its nine-month Palestinian operation in May after a survey which showed that food aid is a priority need for 620,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (see 'Geography of Hunger' box below).

Widespread food insecurity has resulted from the collapse of the local economy and a dramatic fall in average income as more and more workers lose their jobs -- often as a direct consequence of Israeli security measures.

In the Nablus, where 50,000 people need food aid, the wages of daily workers in Israel used to make-up a major slice of income.

Since late 2000, some 13,000 people, including 8,000 who worked inside Israel or in settlements, have lost their jobs.

WFP's survey showed that workers are remaining unemployed for increasingly longer periods, and food production/exports are declining.

Many people are selling off their property to pay for food or falling back on extended family support.

In the Gaza Strip, which has been divided into three parts, restriction on the movement of Palestinians means even people with enough money often struggle to get to the market to buy food.


To make matters worse, the restoration of curfews in June together with security checkpoints are making food aid deliveries increasingly slow and unpredictable.

WFP is delivering food aid to distribution points inside the territories using a fleet of 10 trucks owned by the Swedish Rescue Services Agency.

Geography of Hunger on the West Bank/Gaza Strip
Hebron (457,781 inhabitants)
· Since late 2000, about 50,000 daily wage labourers have lost their jobs
· About 100,000 people need food aid
    Bethlehem (153,954 inhabitants)
    · Since late 2000, about 47,000 people have lost their jobs. Wages diminished by about 50 percent
    · About 30 percent of the families have reportedly sold some property to get cash for basic necessities
    · About 30,000 people are in need of food aid
      Jerusalem (367,000 inhabitants)
      · About 50,000 people lost their jobs
      · 7,000 people need emergency food assistance
        Ramallah (243,432 inhabitants)
        · About 19,400 people lost their jobs since late 2000
        · 30,000 people need food aid
          Nablus (331,688 inhabitants)
          · Wages of daily workers in Israel used to constitute a major source of income but since late 2000, about 13,000 people, including 8,000 who used to work inside Israel or settlements, lost jobs
          · 50,000 people need food aid
            Qalquilia (81,900 inhabitants)
            · Surrounded by Israel on three sides, local economy depends heavily on agriculture (esp. citrus exports) and wages of daily workers in Israel. Since late 2000, about 16,000 daily wage workers have lost their jobs inside Israel
            · 16,000 people need food assistance.
              Tulkaram (149,188 inhabitants)
              · Local economy depends mainly on agriculture and wages of daily workers in Israel. It is estimated that about 90 percent of the labourers that worked inside Israel have lost their jobs while 15,000 families dependent on agricultural exports have lost all or part of their income
              · About 24,000 need food assistance
                Salfit (54,600 inhabitants)
                · City's economy dependent on jobs inside Israel and to a lesser extent agriculture. Many people are believed to have lost their jobs due to the closures
                · 11,000 in need of food aid
                  Jenin (225,700 inhabitants)
                  · Economy largely depends on commerce with and daily jobs in Israel (up to 70 percent). About 90 percent of the trade with Israel has been lost due to the closure while farming is now mainly a subsistence activity. About 20,000 who used to work inside Israel have lost jobs
                  · Around 45,000 people are in need of food aid
                    Jericho (37,066 inhabitants)
                    · 7,000 people need food aid
                      Gaza Strip (1,196,000 inhabitants)
                      · About 68 percent of Palestinians who have fallen under the poverty line since late 2000 live here
                      · Daily wages earned inside Israel used to form a major source of income but the complete closure of the Strip has deprived about 44,000 people of jobs
                      · About 300,000 non-refugee Palestinians need of food aid

                      Follow UNISPAL RSS Twitter