One Year After the 2014 Gaza War
This report intends to highlight the key challenges that remain one year after the 2014 Gaza war as they relate to UNFPA’s programme priorities. The report focuses on Reproductive Health and Family Planning, Gender-based violence as a protection concern and the particular challenges facing young people.
The 2014 war on Gaza was one of three military operations within the last six years - all of which have contributed to the deterioration of the social, economic and health conditions of the civilian population in Gaza. The long standing siege, strict closure and constraints have led to the degradation of living standards, increased poverty and unemployment.
A year after the 2014 Gaza war, the health system remains fragile, with significant challenges to the rehabilitation of infrastructure, replenishment of supplies and a heightened financial crisis affecting health workers, particularly salary payments to civil servants. Although some aspects of the health system show signs of recovery, the pace remains slow.
Due to the destruction of 14 medical facilities and substantial damage to 102 additional facilities, maternity wards were closed down and quality of care was compromised due to overload and shortages of staffing and resources. Only four hospitals were repaired since the war, and nine clinics are still under rehabilitation. As a result Reproductive Health services have been compromised and uptake in family planning service have declined.
Particularly, women and girls were negatively affected by the hostilities and the aftermath. At least 16 of the 299 women killed during the 51-day war were pregnant. As reflected in the UNFPA led assessment conducted right after the war on the situation of IDP girls and women, domestic violence increased in shelters and women’s ability to care for their families was curtailed. One year later, the situation for women remains dire. The last shelter for internally displace people was closed in June 2015 even though housing rehabilitation remains pending. Many of these IDPs rely on temporary arrangements in the form of caravans, make-shift shelters, and living with host families. The situation remains problematic and it continues to lock women and girls in a state of vulnerability.
Furthermore, young people account for about 30% of the population in Gaza, but they are largely voiceless victims of the situation. Young people are expected to provide and protect other members of the community regardless of the challenges they face, which has further been aggravated by the crisis. According to the UNFPA assessment conducted after the war, youth were deprived of basic necessities, while forced to act as adults from an early age. The situation often leads to them engaging in risky behaviours including, drug abuse, criminal acts, violence, and life-threatening attempts to emigrate from the Gaza strip.