18 - 25 November Issue 71
Operational environment: The general atmosphere in Gaza remains tense. There number of demonstrations and sit-ins demanding UNRWA to accelerate its reconstruction efforts, continues to increase. An unclear timeframe around reconstruction and the workings of the Government-led Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism are proving frustrating for affected families. The security situation in Gaza is slowly deteriorating, with police force employees remaining unpaid and de-motivated to attend daily work. This presents additional challenges for UNRWA, with no clear solution or easing of frustrations in sight.
LIFE IN AN UNRWA COLLECTIVE CENTRE: LONGING FOR “HOME”
Nayef Hamdan El-Nabahin, a 51-year-old Palestine refugee, lived with his family to the east of Wadi Gaza area in east Bureij. During the recent conflict, the area was heavily bombed, with several shells hitting Nayef's home and destroying it. “One evening in mid-July, during the heavy shelling and just after midnight, we fled our home and sought refuge at a relative's home,” said Nayef. “We stayed there until the next morning and then we made our way to a shelter in UNRWA Bureij Elementary Boys School, where we stayed for a while before moving to Bureij Elementary Co-ed School – one of UNRWA’s Collective Centres,” he continued.
Nayef used to work as a gardener, but with so little income that did not exceed NIS 500, or less than USD 130 per month, he could barely make ends meet. Nayef suffers from a kidney related illness and from visual impairment. He is selective about the type of work he does. With his 21-year-old son, Basel, suffering from epilepsy and losing three fingers in an accident, the family's financial conditions could not support a college education for Nayef's two daughters, Amani and Hanadi.
The family depends mainly on aid it receives from the Ministry of Social Affairs, in addition to a number of UNRWA services including health care and food assistance. Nayef and his family rely on the Collective Centre now for meals, hygiene products, mattresses, blankets, and clothes.
Nayef's wife, Ibtisam, has been able to help the family earn a modest wage. She took a three-month Job Creation Program recruitment opportunity working as an attendant at one of the UNRWA Collective Centres. This has helped generate some income for the family.
Following the end of hostilities in late August, Nayef and his family still had enough money to leave the Collective Centre, and rent an apartment. This however proved short lived as their financial situation did not improve and it became impossible to maintain rental payments; higher since the conflict. The family had no other option but to return to the same Collective Centre. Having had their home assessed, Nayef’s family is entitled to receive the UNRWA’s transitional shelter cash assistance but so far have not been able to find another rental property as the market is currently saturated with families seeking to rent.
“Our future is uncertain,” said Nayef. “With no home to return to and difficulty in finding somewhere to rent, my family and I still await a solution for our situation… we continue hoping for a better life for our children.”
SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS
No major incidents were reported between 18-25 November.
The Agency has concluded assessments of its damaged UNRWA installations, with a total of 118. Repair work is ongoing.
UNRWA is seeking USD 1.6 billion for emergency relief, early recovery and reconstruction priorities in the Gaza Strip. More information can be found here. The same information is available in Arabic here.