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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
29 January 2008

On 18 January, following a surge in conflict between the IDF and armed Palestinians, Israel closed all crossings from Israel into Gaza, cutting it off from all supplies of food, medicine and fuel including humanitarian aid. Erez crossing remained open for Palestinians needing urgent medical treatment and international humanitarian workers. On 22 January, restricted fuel deliveries resumed and limited humanitarian goods were allowed in. Since 18 January, no commercial goods have been allowed into Gaza. On 23 January, Palestinians destroyed the border wall that separates Gaza and Egypt, allowing thousands of Palestinians to cross in and out of Egypt since then.

The Sufa and Kerem Shalom goods crossings have been completely closed since 27 January. Erez remains open for international humanitarian workers and medical evacuations. According to WHO, 216 patients crossed for further treatment into Israel/West Bank from 18-28 January. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have crossed into Al Arish and Egyptian Rafah since 23 January to purchase fuel and goods which have been in shortage since the Israeli lock-down of Gaza in mid-June. Gazans are not allowed to travel beyond Rafah-Massariyah in Sinai.

Nahal Oz has been open regularly but no goods have crossed Sufa or Kerem Shalom since 24 January.

The following amounts of fuel entered Gaza between 20-28 January:

The supplies of diesel are in storage on the Gaza side of Nahal Oz because the distributors’ association has refused to collect them in protest at the low amounts of fuel available for the commercial market. The association has said that they will allow humanitarian agencies to collect petrol and diesel but they have not yet done so.

Between the18th and the 29th January, UNRWA provided 6,500 litres of fuel to Shifa Hospital, 3,500 litres to the Gaza European Hospital, 1,500 litres to the Gaza Pediatric Hospital, 2,000 litres to the Patients Friends Benevolent Hospital and 1,500 litres to the central drug store. In addition, UNRWA provided 112,500 litres to the Gaza municipalities and solid waste management councils.

The Gaza power plant is currently producing 45 megawatts in the day and 65 megawatts at night. The Gaza Strip requires an estimated 240 megawatts of power, of which Israel provides 120 megawatts and Egypt 17.

The current supply is 182 megawatts or 76 per cent of Gaza’s requirements.

Gaza’s water authority, the Coastal and Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU), has not received any supplies of diesel this week because of the distributors’ strike. As a result, Gaza’s three sewage treatment stations are unable to operate normally.

The level of the sewage lagoon near Beit Lahia has risen 18 cm this week because the pumps which are meant to move the sewage to the filtration basin have no power. Last year, the walls of the lagoon burst, killing five people in the adjacent Bedouin village.

Due to the fuel distributor’s strike which started on 18 January, garbage has not been collected and is piling up along street corners, posing an increasing public health hazard.

WFP markets visits this week reveal that fresh meat and wheat flour are becoming scarce. The absence of wheat flour could be as a result of trader’s hoarding because they are under pressure not to increase their prices.

WFP found no evidence that the influx of goods from Gaza had any effect on supply or prices although traders could be hoarding in anticipation of the closure of the border.

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