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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
25 May 2016


• Funding shortfalls expected in July will force WFP to suspend in-kind food assistance through the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) in Gaza, affecting 89,000 people, of whom three-quarters are women and children. In April, WFP assisted 480,000 financially insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank through cash-based transfers (CBTs) and in-kind food assistance. Women and children accounted for 70 percent.

• In the second quarter of 2016, WFP and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) plan to scale up CBT voucher assistance to 90,000 refugees in the West Bank.

WFP Assistance

*May 2016 - October 2016

Resources permitting, WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) aims to assist 600,000 non-refugees in Palestine, 290,000 in Gaza and 310,000 in the West Bank, predominantly through in-kind food distributions and CBTs using a voucher modality. The PRRO has three main objectives: meeting the food needs of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations; fostering early recovery and enhancing the resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities in the face of economic hardship and restricted freedom of movement; and supporting the Palestinian Authority's (PA) national safety net by strengthening the government capacity.

WFP links its social transfers with local production and uses its purchasing power as a leverage to strengthen the agricultural sector development and connect small-scale producers, food processors, retailers and consumers. Between 2011-2015, WFP invested more than USD 180 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 110 million through CBTs.

CBTs serve as a multi-sectoral platform for partnerships and service provision, used by other humanitarian and development actors to deliver their own or complementary assistance with WFP's One Card. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WFP and OXFAM reached over 300,000 people in two weeks with this innovative, flexible and rapidly scalable modality. During and after the conflict, WFP and UNICEF provided conflict-affected people food, hygiene and sanitation items, water and school uniforms. WFP voucher has also been used by Global Communities, HelpAge, Medecins du Monde and MoSA. UNRWA has been using WFP's One Card to reach 47,000 refugees monthly in the West Bank.

Gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment is central to WFP's operations. Food distribution points and partner retailers are easily accessible for women and are located in areas close to households headed by women. To strengthen the nutritional impact of its CBTs programme, WFP together with OXFAM, UNICEF and local NGO Ard EI-Insan runs a nutrition awareness campaign for 2,000 women and 1,000 men receiving CBTs in Gaza. Interactive sessions have been instrumental to strengthening women's self-image as autonomous decision-makers and promote a common understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The programme is all the more critical as 50 percent of the population suffers from more than one micronutrient deficiency, particularly female adolescents in Gaza where 72 percent are deficient in vitamin D and 64 percent are deficient in vitamin A. Since 2011, 4,850 women have benefitted from the training.

WFP's strategy in Palestine is aligned with the National Development Plan, the Ministry of Social Affairs' Business Plan and the Social Protection Sector Strategic Plan. WFP's interventions are integrated in the 2014-2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the 2016 Response Plan, and support Sustainable Development Goals 1-5 and 8.

Operational Updates

In April, WFP assisted more than 480,000 food insecure people in Gaza and the West Bank through in-kind food and CBTs. This included 30,000 members of the vulnerable Bedouin and herding communities living in Area C of the West Bank who are facing imminent transfer.

WFP and UNRWA continue working on scaling up assistance to refugees in the West Bank through WFP's One Card from 47,000 to 90,000 refugees.

Since October 2015, WFP has implemented a CBT project for 15,000 people impacted by the 2014 conflict in Gaza. Households receive an adjusted voucher value based on their assessed level of vulnerability to food insecurity: severely, moderately or marginally vulnerable. Results of the project will better inform WFP's future programme design and implementation.

A WFP CBT mission visited Gaza and the West Bank on 18-22 April to provide guidance on two assessments the Country Office will be conducting in 2016: a market capacity survey of Gaza' s market ability to absorb a large-scale up of voucher assistance during emergencies; and the creation of an emergency retailer roster by mapping retailers of food and non-food in Gaza and the West Bank.

Since April 2016, WFP has scaled up its nutrition awareness campaign in Gaza aiming to reach an additional 500 women (2,500 women in total).


Funding shortfalls continue to pose an operational challenge for WFP. Unless additional funding is secured immediately, WFP will suspend its in-kind food distributions with the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza in early July, impacting 89,000 of the poorest people of Gaza. A pause in this programme just before Ramadan has the potential to cause severe hardship for these households, and could result in unrest. In addition, there could be pressure to cease WFP's food assistance programmes run with NG0s, impacting an additional 170,000 people in Gaza.

WFP needs additional USD 30 million to assist 600,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank until the end of 2016.


Supporting enhanced food security is a task shared by WFP, the PA and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), with close links to activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and other partners. WFP works closely with governmental, non-governmental (Oxfam GB, Global Communities) and UN partners (UNRWA, UNICEF) to successfully deliver in-kind food and CBT assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. WFP co-leads, together with UNRWA and FAO, the Food Security Sector (FSS) which aims to strengthen food security analysis and response, and linked humanitarian and developmental interventions for the Palestinian Authority.

Country Background & Strategy

Decades of occupation coupled with severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods have undermined the living conditions and reduced access to livelihoods for Palestinians. Food insecurity is mostly due to a lack of economic access: food prices are mainly driven by Israel and out of reach for many poor households - the GDP per capita in Palestine (USD 4,700) is six times less than that of Israel (USD 30,000). The impact of the 2014 conflict in Gaza continues to be devastating to the Palestinian people and economy. Against this backdrop, more than 27 percent of the population — or 1.6 million people — suffers from food insecurity. In Gaza, one in two is food insecure, and one in three is severely affected. As poor and vulnerable Palestinians spend more than half of their income on food, WFP's assistance is critical to meet their food needs. This prevents further deteriorations in food security and livelihood status, and avoids the use of negative coping mechanisms.

WFP targets 600,000 of the most vulnerable, food insecure non-refugees in Palestine who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and occupation, a fiscal crisis and a steady decline in living standards. PRRO 200709 combines ongoing operations in the West Bank and Gaza to coherently address urgent humanitarian needs in Palestine, while supporting early recovery and sustainable, long term food security for non-refugees. WFP has been present in Palestine since 1991.

Population: 4.4 million2015 Human Development Index: 113 out of 188
Income Level: Lower middleChronic malnutrition: 7.4 % of children between 6-59 months

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