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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
30 June 2017



Highlights

WFP assisted nearly 480,000 food insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank in June, through both cash-based transfers (CBT) - using an electronic voucher redeemable in local shops - and in-kind food assistance. Women and children accounted for 70 percent of those assisted.

The unfolding electricity crisis in Gaza is exacerbating the dire living conditions of the impoverished enclave's population. Every household in Gaza is hit, but the crisis take the heaviest toll on the most vulnerable and the poorest, including WFP assisted people, with no resolution in sight. Without additional funding, WFP will not be in capacity to assist all 92,000 voucher recipients from July onwards.


WFP Assistance

The Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200709, with an approved budget of USD 210 million over 2015-2017, WFP has three objectives: 1) meeting urgent food needs and enhancing the food consumption and dietary diversity of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations; 2) supporting livelihoods, fostering early recovery and enhancing the resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities in the face of socio­economic hardships; 3) supporting the Palestinian authority's capacity to deliver cost-effective and protective national safety nets, and strengthening its readiness to respond to external shocks, in collaboration with United Nations agencies.

Each month, WFP provides food assistance to nearly half a million poor food insecure Palestinians, the great majority living below the deep poverty line on less than USD 3.2 per person per day. WFP food assistance proved to be critical in meeting their daily food needs, but also in protecting their livelihoods and mitigating the devastating and accumulative impact of decades of conflict on their socio-economic status.

The Palestinian Authority is WFP's primary partner in Palestine. WFP supports the Ministry of Social Development in the development and delivery of an integrated and needs-based National Food Safety net, reaching 214,000 people with in-kind food and cash-based transfer assistance (CBT), using an electronic food voucher. WFP also provides technical support towards programme design, beneficiary targeting, monitoring and evaluation to the Ministry of Social Development.

By purchasing the majority of its food supplies locally and using retail shops for the procurement and distribution of food assistance, WFP aims at strengthening the resilience of local food systems and the wider Palestinian economy to the protracted crisis. Since 2011 and to date, WFP has invested more than USD 235 million in the economy, including USD 148 million through CBTs and 87 million through local purchases. Approximately 96 percent of WFP food items available through CBTs are produced and/or processed locally.

WFP's CBT platform allows for a flexible, rapidly-scalable and multi-stakeholder humanitarian response in times of crisis, fostering aid complementarity, cost-effectiveness and impact.

Use of an "electronic wallet" made it possible for other organisations to deliver assistance through the same card. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WFP reached more than 300,000 people in less than two weeks with CBTs, including 84,000 who received complementary water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance from UNICEF through the WFP card. CBTs are also effectively used in recovery contexts: since the conflict, WFP continued to partner with UNICEF and teamed-up and/or shared its CBT technology to Oxfam, Help Age and Medecins du Monde in Gaza. In the West Bank, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been using WFP's voucher platform to deliver its food assistance to 47,000 refugees since 2015.

WFP's activities in Palestine promote and support women's empowerment and gender equality in all its interventions. Food distribution points and partner retailers are easily accessible for women and are located in areas close to women-headed households. WFP together with the local NGO Ard EI-Insan and UNICEF run nutrition education classes to 5,700 voucher recipients, the majority women. The programme is critical as 50 percent of the population suffers from more than one micronutrient deficiency. The sessions have a long-term positive impact on levels of nutritional and dietary knowledge and healthy cooking habits among participants. Since 2011, more than 8,000 women and their families have benefited from the training.




Operational Updates

In June, WFP assisted 478,097 poor and food insecure people: 245,591 people in Gaza and 232,506 people in the West Bank with food and CBTs. WFP food assistance proved to be critical in meeting their immediate food needs and stabilising their dietary diversity, but also in protecting their livelihoods and mitigating the devastating and accumulative impact of decades of conflict on their socio­economic status.

WFP and its local partner Ard El Insan completed the training of 3,200 women, 1,000 men and 1,500 primary school children on best health and nutritional practices in Gaza. The participants attended sessions over a period of six months, covering topics such as tackling micro-nutrient deficiencies, understanding the nutritional values of food and buying the most nutritious food on a budget. Since 2011, more than 12, 000 people, two-third of whom women, have benefitted from the training.

The humanitarian vulnerability of Gaza's population has been exacerbated due to a dramatic deterioration in the energy situation, resulting in electricity blackouts of 20 hours per day. The energy crisis has eroded people's purchasing power and increased the prices of basic essentials, including food. The poorest families, including those assisted by WFP, are the most affected. The coping mechanisms of WFP assisted people have deteriorated. More people resorted to purchasing food on credit, reduced the quality and quantity of their meals and/or relied on support from friends and relatives.

Gaza is expected to suffer a lack of necessary food items, combined with a rise in some food prices during the upcoming summer season, due to lack of power and fuel for irrigation. The prices of fruits and vegetables have already soared in June, compared to April and May.

On June 13, WFP sent a press release calling for additional donor resources to meet the food needs of 92,000 poor food insecure people receiving electronic vouchers as available funding came to exhaustion at the end of June.

Funded and commissioned by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), WFP released a new market assessment report on the feasibility to further scale-up the use of cash-based transfers to respond to the food needs of Gaza's population. The report can be consulted here.

Challenges

• Due to lack of sufficient funding, and unless additional resources are secured, WFP will be forced to suspend its voucher assistance in Gaza from July onwards, impacting the livelihoods and food security status of up to 92,000 people.

• The disruption of WFP food assistance, at a time when the unfolding electricity crisis shows no assign of abating, would further stretch the coping mechanisms of a highly vulnerable population, living below the deep poverty line with less than 3.2 dollars a day. WFP needs USD 1.4 million per month in Gaza to avert a deepening of the current humanitarian crisis.

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 in Palestine is driven by limited economic access to food, arising from restrictions of movement, trade and investment, and high unemployment rates. Food prices are driven by Israel, where people's average purchasing power per person is six times higher than in Palestine, and therefore too high for poor families to afford.

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 people are food insecure, and one in three is severely affected by food insecurity. 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 their food security and livelihood status, and prevents them from engaging in negative coping mechanisms, such as selling their assets.

WFP targets nearly 500,000 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.



Partnerships

Supporting enhanced food security is a task shared by WFP, the Palestinian Authority, UNRWA and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with close links to activities of UNICEF and other partners. WFP works closely with the Government, NGOs (Global Communities, Ard El Insan) and United Nations partners (UNRWA) to successfully deliver food and cash-based assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. WFP co-leads, together with FAO, the Food Security Sector which aims to strengthen food security analysis and response, and link humanitarian and development interventions for the Palestinian Authority.

Donors

WFP is grateful for the unwavering support of its longstanding partners, namely: Belgium, Canada, ECHO, France, Italy, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, OCHA, Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, multilateral donors.

Contact info: Raphael du Boispean (raphael.duboispean@wfp.org) Country Director: Daniela Owen Further information: www.wfp.org/countries/palestine


http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/ep/wfp274588.pdf?_ga=2.221679512.1408945048.1501507024-427906293.1460988163


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