• As of January 2015, WFP will be launching a new Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) which will cover both the West Bank and Gaza. With this single programme WFP will coherently address urgent humanitarian needs, support early recovery and sustainable longer-term food security for some 570,000 non-refugees in 2015 -2016, for a total cost of US$145 million. Having one single programme in Palestine will strengthen a common approach, common activities and food rations, and will give more flexibility in the allocation of resources.
• WFP published a new study on the secondary impact of its voucher programme in Palestine, showing positive impacts of the programme on the local economy, including:
• Participating voucher shops recorded a 40 percent increase in sales.
• Shops hired more than 480 new workers.
• Participating dairy processors witnessed a 23 percent increase in overall sales.
The study is available online: http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ ena/wfp269468.pdf
• WFP is piloting a new and improved electronic voucher platform for food and non-food assistance that can also be used by national and international partners on the ground. In 2014 alone, WFP Palestine's innovative voucher system is being used by six different organizations in Palestine for food, water, sanitation and education transfers.
• Heavy rains in the last week of November resulted in flooding across the Gaza Strip forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes. UNRWA declared a state of emergency and an additional 1,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) sought refuge in shelters, where more than 20,000 IDPs are staying as a consequence of the summer conflict.
• Heightened tensions prevail in the West Bank and Jerusalem over holy sites, settlements and access/rights issues. There has been an upsurge inviolence particularly in Jerusalem.
• In Gaza, uncertainty over the Government of National Consensus, rising frustration with the slow pace of reconstruction and a vacuum in leadership and security services could ignite factional conflict and instability.
GAZA EMERGENCY RESPONSE:
• RECOVERY VOUCHERS: Approximately 4,331 families (or 25,815 people) who are returning home from shelters and host families are receiving WFP electronic food vouchers to be redeemed at local shops.
• VOUCHERS FOR SCHOOL UNIFORMS: As part of a WFP and UNICEF partnership 4,555 children have received vouchers for school uniforms and shoes. In the next month, an additional 14,000 children should benefit from the vouchers.
• VOUCHERS FOR ELDERY PEOPLE: WFP and HelpAge have scaled up their partnership and are now distributing electronic food vouchers to 2,100 elderly people.
• FOOD ASSISTANCE TO IDPs: WFP continues providing food assistance for conflict-affected people in Gaza. In November, WFP and UNRWA jointly provided ready-to-eat food to up to 30,000 people who remain in shelters (collective centers) after their houses were either partially or totally destroyed.
GAZA AND WEST BANK REGULAR ACTIVITIES:
• REGULAR VOUCHERS: In November 60,000 beneficiaries redeemed their vouchers in Gaza. In the West Bank, WFP reached more than 70,000 people. WFP is running a pilot with PalPay in a total of 22 West Bank shops for the use of a new electronic voucher system.
• VOUCHERS — WFP/UNRWA: WFP and UNRWA have expanded the UNRWA voucher programme in the West Bank, which uses WFP's voucher system, from 31,000 to 36,000 beneficiaries. WFP and UNRWA are planning a further extension of the programme, aiming to reach 45,000 people by the end of the year.
• REGULAR FOOD ASSISTANCE: In Gaza, the September and October distribution cycles, in cooperation with Global Communities and the Ministry of Social Affairs, were completed early November reaching 180,000 people. The November-December distribution cycles commence in December.
In the West Bank, WFP launched the October-December distributions with all cooperating partners, e.g. the Ministry of Social Affairs, Global Communities and UNRWA, reaching approximately 175,000 beneficiaries. WFP is also providing food assistance to people affected by demolitions of their houses and structures.
• SCHOOL FEEDING: Due to critical funding shortfalls this programme is currently on hold in Gaza. In the West Bank the programme has been reduced by half and is reaching 30,000 of the most vulnerable children with a reduced ration.
• NUTRITION AWARENESS PROJECT: By the end of November the project had completed its eight week, reaching 1,000 women in Gaza City. This year the project has been expanded including sessions for 600 men who are the spouses of the participating women. The six-month-long sessions feature interactive discussions and presentations on diet, hygiene, cooking, purchasing healthy food on a budget, and caring for infants. Following the conflict in Gaza, sessions are also focused on psychosocial support.
• Emergency Preparedness/Disaster Risk Reduction: WFP led an information management simulation exercise for Palestinian Civil Defense staff. The purpose of the simulation was to practice using the three information management tools developed by WFP.
• Food availability in Gaza is similar to the amount found prior to the conflict. This is mainly due to higher quantities of food imported from Israel and the West Bank by both the private sector and the UN, as well as a partial resumption of local production of staple vegetables, meat and eggs.
• Bread is readily available at local Gaza markets. All 60 bakeries in the Gaza Strip are functioning, but at a lower capacity than pre-war levels.
• Food continues to be unaffordable for many households, including for items that have become less expensive than pre-conflict prices as a result of low demand, such as chicken.
• Damages and losses sustained by the agricultural sector in Gaza have been directly reflected in shortages of fresh produce.
• For this first time since 2007, fish was exported from Gaza to the West bank. A total of 1.697 metric tons of fish was allowed to exit Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing in November.
Food Security Sector '
• Food Security Sector members have submitted their projects for the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP). WFP will implement three projects through the SRP in 2015. The SRP presents the strategy of humanitarian actors in Palestine to address the most urgent needs of 1.9 million vulnerable Palestinians. The Palestine SRP was launched in Geneva, Switzerland, on 9 December.
• The Food Security Sector has issued an Emergency Food Security Assessment for the Gaza Strip, which was carried out by the Sector in the months of September and October. The assessment highlights that economic access to food has been severely affected for those households whose homes and productive assets have been destroyed, and for those who lost their jobs as a result of the conflict. The assessment is available online: http://foodsecuritycluster.net/ document/efsa-report-gaza-nov-2014-0
• The last Logistics Cluster coordination meeting was held on 8 December 2014. The deactivation process for the Logistics Cluster will officially be started by the end of 2014 with a formal deactivation request to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.
• In total, the Logistics Cluster transported 8,564 pallets with humanitarian cargo using 322 trucks for 48 organizations into the Gaza Strip between July and October. Cargo was transported for the Food Security Sector, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Health clusters as well as the Shelter cluster.
To provide food and voucher assistance in the West Bank and Gaza until June 2015, WFP needs US$24 million, of which US$15 million is needed immediately. If funding is not received urgently, food assistance programmes will come to a halt as early as February 2015.
1According to the results of the latest food security assessment, which was held prior to the Gaza emergency.