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United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
30 June 2004
EMERGENCY APPEAL 2004
Twenty-fourth progress report - January-June 2004
EMERGENCY APPEAL 2004
The effects of the second intifada on the Palestinian refugee population of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are now increasingly structural and the socio-economic situation is largely distinguished by high rates of unemployment and poverty, low incomes and shortage of disposable income, increased levels of debt, high rates of dependency, increased psycho-social problems and violence.
In the West Bank, the construction and extension of the wall/fence during the period has served to fuel existing tensions. Confrontations with Israeli forces escalated in June, particularly around Jerusalem and Bethlehem resulting in 685 casualties, the highest number of injuries since April 2002. Monitoring and assessment of the impact on UNRWA operations and installations have been ongoing, with a particular focus on the Jerusalem area where 14 schools will be affected, access to the Agency’s Jerusalem Health Centre is being hindered and referral options to secondary care institutions in the city are made impossible for West Bank residents. A survey on the food security situation of refugees residing between the wall/fence and the Green Line in the northern West Bank has highlighted problems of access for both people and food commodities into secluded areas. By the end of June, UNRWA was preparing for a worst case scenario of increased closures and the complete construction of the wall/fence, and was already working to identify and plan for any new measures which may need to be adopted, to preserve the integrity of the Agency’s operations.
Tensions remained high in the Gaza Strip in the period under review (exceptionally, this report covers the six months to the end of June 2004.) An increase in the number of fatalities and casualties was again noticed, with a total of 307 Palestinians killed and 1,295 injured in armed clashes or military operations. The Palestine refugee community is particularly vulnerable to violent incidents. In one case in Gaza, two 10 year-old UNRWA elementary school pupils were shot whilst in their classrooms.
In response to two suicide attacks, one inside the Erez Industrial Zone on the border between Gaza and Israel and one at Ashdod Port, the IDF implemented its threat to step up its campaign against the Hamas leadership, by assassinating the spiritual leader and founder of the movement, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Israel has so far undertaken 167 extra judicial executions of Palestinians since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000.
The pattern of house demolitions in the Gaza Strip saw a very sharp increase in the period under review, particularly during “Operation Rainbow,” which was launched by the Israeli Army in Rafah on 17 May and lasted until 24 May. In an effort to address the need for immediate assistance as a result of this operation, UNRWA launched a Supplementary Appeal for those directly affected during the events in May. In addition to the death and injury of a large number of Palestinians and extensive damage to infrastructure and agricultural land, the operation resulted in massive destruction of residential buildings, mostly belonging to refugees.
According to UNRWA's records, from the beginning of the second intifada to 30 June 2004, a total of 2,272 shelters accommodating 4,072 families (21,453 persons) had been completely demolished or damaged beyond repair in the Gaza Strip during Israeli military activities. Of them, 1886 shelters accommodated 3338 refugee families (17,831 persons). Out of this group, 2,771 families (15,198 persons) were identified as being eligible for assistance under the Agency’s re-housing scheme. Of those already identified as eligible, 2,094 families (11,231 persons) are refugees residing in Rafah.
The future for the refugee community in Rafah is particularly precarious. Senior Israeli officials announced a plan intended to widen what is known as “Philadelphi Corridor”, which runs parallel to the border fence with Egypt, as part of an ongoing IDF operation to discover and destroy tunnels used by smugglers. Initial estimates show that a large number of houses will be demolished, making several thousand families homeless if the IDF continues to pursue this declared objective.
Restrictions on movement within Gaza remained in place and fluctuated in response to changes in the security situation. At the Erez Checkpoint, Palestinians with special permission could pass but new security measures were introduced without notice, creating long delays for those waiting to cross. These developments demonstrate the deteriorating humanitarian situation and justify the Agency’s position on maintaining its Emergency Programme.
While the Agency fully recognizes the importance of ensuring respect for international humanitarian law, and calls on Israel as the occupying power to respect its obligations in this regard, it cannot stand by idly and allow homeless persons to remain without a roof over their heads for the sake of defending a principle. Some donors have taken the position that their governments should not be complicit in facilitating the de facto removal of Palestinians from their places of residence by financing the reconstruction of homes elsewhere, as was the consequence of the May IDF operations in Rafah. Other donors, however, have supported the Agency’s re-housing programme.
By the end of June 2004, UNRWA had received only 47 percent of its total requirements as set out in its two Emergency Appeals for 2003 and only 27 percent of its total requirements set out in the Emergency Appeal for 2004. The Agency was again forced to reprogramme its emergency assistance in both West Bank and Gaza, with the primary focus being placed on most critical forms of intervention: food assistance, direct employment and cash assistance. A number of vital projects in primary health, education, infrastructure work and shelter reconstruction and repair were not implemented as a result, producing growing dissatisfaction within the refugee community.
Emergency Employment Creation
A central component of UNRWA’s response to the deepening poverty levels in oPt is emergency employment creation. Projects in this area directly tackle the high levels of unemployment, help stimulate the local economies and improve living conditions in refugee camps. They include the direct hire of employees on short-term contracts or the implementation of building and maintenance projects through private-sector contracts or community-based projects.
a. Direct hire
UNRWA offers temporary employment in a wide range of professional, technical, support and unskilled positions in connection with its regular and emergency programmes, including teachers in its schools, medical professionals in its health centres, engineers on project sites, and administrative and clerical workers in its field offices and headquarters. Between January and June, UNRWA offered 11,933 temporary employment contracts, 2,608 of them in the West Bank and 9,325 in the Gaza Strip. These contracts typically ran for up to three months but in the professions, where incumbents have become familiar with UNRWA's procedures and where continuity is desirable, contracts may be for longer periods.
Due to funding shortfalls in the Gaza Strip, this programme offered 819 fewer contracts from April to June than in January to March.
Together, these temporary employees worked 864,759 days. The programme enhances the pride and self-esteem of the participants, while the wages they earn ensure that they can meet the basic needs of their families. Those who participated supported 82,705 dependants.
Since UNRWA launched its emergency programme in late 2000, close to 5 million work days have been generated under the Direct Hire Programme.
b. Indirect Hire
A total of 49,900 work days were generated through UNRWA’s indirect hire projects under the Emergency Appeal in the first two quarters of the year. In total, 17,822 days of labour were generated in the West Bank, and 32,078 days in the Gaza Strip.
, indirect hire projects made a substantial contribution to the Agency’s infrastructure.
Construction projects completed during the period included:
· Am’ari Girls School: six additional classrooms, three specialised rooms and one kindergarten;
· Am’ari Girls School: finishing works for four classrooms.
· Nur Shams Boys School: a school of 30 classrooms and eight specialised rooms;
· Kalandia Girls School: an additional toilet block.
A total of 112 maintenance projects have been implemented from October 2000 to June 2004 in the West Bank, with a combined value of US$2.4 million. Projects have included maintenance works at various UNRWA premises, including construction of recreational areas in camps. Maintenance projects completed during the reporting period included the following :
· Aida Girls School;
· Balata warehouse;
· West Bank Field Office.
· Kalandia library and Kalandia Boys School.
In addition, 32,514m
concrete pathways, 3,287m
of drains and 2,846m
of retaining walls were completed during the first six months of 2004.
In the Gaza Strip, four classrooms at Maghazi Preparatory Boys School, two classrooms at Bureij Preparatory Boys School and a further two classrooms at Maghazi Elementary Boys School were completed. Work to construct two workshops at the Gaza Training Centre was also completed during the period.
Since the launch of the Emergency Appeals, a total of six schools , 130 individual classrooms and eight specialist classrooms have been constructed in the Gaza Strip under the Indirect Hire programme. The Agency has also been able to reconstruct 434 shelters for Special Hardship Case families identified as priorities for reconstruction because of their poor condition. The latter covered only a small percentage of those shelters requiring reconstruction on safety or health grounds.
Emergency Food Aid
UNRWA provides emergency food aid to households in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), supplying staple commodities that contribute to nutritional security, including flour, rice, chick peas, sugar and oil. The provision of these goods does not affect the local market or negatively affect local farm production. As the goods are delivered to beneficiaries for substantially less than they would have cost in local shops, the programme frees up scarce family cash for other essential purposes and this assists refugees’ coping ability. While having the same overall objective, the programme is implemented differently between the two UNRWA Fields of operation in Gaza and the West Bank. This variation in approach is explained by geographical and demographic differences, as well as the different tactics being used by the Israeli army in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
UNRWA has the largest food aid programme, with the lowest cost per commodity, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A total of 188,632 families received food parcels during the reporting period (127,000 in the Gaza Strip and 61,632 in the West Bank). A total of 27,290 tons of food were distributed over the six-month period. In the West Bank, curfews and closures resulted in food aid distributions being disrupted on 22 different occasions.
Due to a shortage of funds for the food aid programme, the Agency continues to support 40 percent of nutritional requirements to refugees under this programme – a third less than the Agency standard of 60 percent nutiritional requirements which UNRWA supplies to those families enrolled in its Special Hardship Case programme. In the West Bank, improved targeting led to the re-drawing of the distribution roster and the exclusion of some 6,000 families who did not fully meet Agency criteria for assistance. This led to protests in some areas.
The Agency has now distributed more than 3.8 million food parcels since the first Emergency Appeal was launched in late 2000.
Emergency Relief and Social Assistance
a. Cash and In-Kind Assistance
Selective cash assistance on a small scale is provided to those households in extreme crisis, for example as a result of the death or injury of a principal breadwinner or the destruction of housing. Grants enable families to buy basic items such as food or meet urgent utility or school expenses.
UNRWA's cash assistance programme benefited 16,584 families comprising 72,114 individuals between January and June (12,176 families in the West Bank and 4,408 families in the Gaza Strip). Most of these grants were given to households that have not had any regular source of income for many months. Cash assistance was also provided to those families requiring relocation due to home demolition.
UNRWA provides in-kind assistance to families who have lost their homes or have been forced to relocate as a result of military activity. A total of 634 families benefited from in-kind assistance during the reporting period: 450 in the West Bank and 184 in the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of the emergency programme, the Agency has provided a total of 1,698 tents, 113,427 blankets and 4,604 kitchen kits to Palestine refugees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
b. Post-Injury Physical and Social Needs Assistance
UNRWA provides physiotherapy and home visits for those refugees injured during the conflict. The Agency also covers the cost of prosthetics and home adaptations for those who have incurred emergency-related injuries.
A total of 3,190 home visits were made between January and June. During this period, the Agency provided funds for 143 prosthetic devices to patients suffering injuries from emergency-related incidents in the West Bank . Also in the West Bank, home adaptations were undertaken on 34 houses to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities caused as a result of the intifada, and occupational therapists worked with 322 disabled persons in learning how to look after their daily needs unassisted, for instance with washing and feeding themselves, improving their motor skills and learni ng to adjust to new prosthetic devices. In the Gaza Strip, the Agency assisted 329 cases for post-injury care, the majority of whom received assistance in their homes.
Emergency Shelter-Repair and Reconstruction
Military incursions, shelling, and armed confrontations have caused damage to and the destruction of refugee shelters in the oPt. UNRWA provides assistance to families made homeless by repairing or rebuilding shelters. In some cases, UNRWA assists the families with cash grants paid in instalments, as the families carry out the work on a self-help basis, with technical advice and supervision provided by the Agency's engineers. In others, the work is undertaken by contracting companies under the supervision of the Agency's engineers.
Shelter destruction dramatically increased in May 2004 as a result of IDF operations in Rafah to destroy tunnels under the border fence. In the Gaza Strip, a total of 723 housing structures were completely destroyed and a further 1,050 suffered damage during military incursions. Most of the damage or destruction occurred in Rafah refugee camp. The combined figure for persons in Gaza affected either by home demolition or by damage to shelters during the period reached 13,948.
As a result of home demolitions carried out between September 2000 and June 2004, 21,433 persons in Gaza have been left homeless. Of these, 17,831 are refugees registered with UNRWA.
A total of 25 shelters sustained major structural damage and 32 were demolished in the first six months of 2004 in the West Bank. Demolition activity declined markedly in the second quarter although there is no evidence of a long-term trend in this respect.
Re-housing and Repair in Gaza
On 9 May, the construction of 87 housing units under the Khan Younis Rehousing Project was completed following the 120 new dwelling units completed under Phases 1 and 2 of the Project. Work is far advanced on Phase 3 of the Rafah Rehousing Project which will provide 46 housing units. Work commenced on Phase 3 of the same project, which will provide an additional 122 dwelling units.
By 30 June, the Agency had re-built 374 shelters to re-house 394 families in the Gaza Strip since the crisis began.
An additional 241 housing units to re-house 263 families are at various stages of construction and design across 5 projects.
The Agency also undertakes repairs to buildings that are damaged, but not completely destroyed. Since October 2000, UNRWA has undertaken structural repairs on 1,043 shelters
but at present, over 1,000 shelters require repair work which cannot be advanced due to a shortage of funds.
Re-Housing and Repair in the West Bank
A total of 51 shelters with major damage were repaired during the reporting period of 2003 in the West Bank. In all, since the start of the intifada, 12,035 shelters have been repaired across all camps in the West Bank.
The Israeli military occupation of major West Bank cities has resulted in serious access restrictions, and has been the main source of problems in the Agency’s provision of emergency healthcare. Despite the difficulties, UNRWA has persisted in its efforts to provide emergency health services to refugees in need.
Due to increased health needs as a result of the emergency, the Agency maintained contracts issued to supplementary medical staff to assist its operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Between January and June, 605 supplementary health care staff were hired, 242 in the Gaza Strip and 363 in the West Bank. These staff included physicians, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and various support staff who played a vital role in the delivery of the Agency’s services.
UNRWA covered a portion of the hospitalisation bills for patients who were in need of emergency care and could not reach hospitals with which UNRWA has long-term contracts. In the first six months of 2004, UNRWA helped 991 patients settle part of their hospital bills. In all, US$344,517 was distributed in this way. Some of the patients assisted were in need of emergency care. Premature infants, new-born babies with Respiratory Distress Syndrome, pregnant women with a high risk of miscarriage, and those with log term illness, were also assisted.
Five mobile health teams operated in the West Bank during the period, two serving villages in the district of Nablus, two others the villages around Hebron and a fifth in the vicinity of Jerusalem. In six months, the teams made 611 visits to isolated villages and saw 61,395 patients, treating patients suffering from a wide range of conditions including diabetes, anaemia, osteoarthritis, and parasitic infestations. They also provided first aid to those injured in confrontations with Israeli forces.
In the Gaza Strip, 156 new intifada-related cases were admitted into Agency physiotherapy clinics and 2,184 treatment sessions were provided for these patients. In the West Bank, physiotherapists made 3,040 home visits to patients to provide
therapy and advise families how to assist in the patients’ recovery.
Ongoing restrictions on movement resulted in deteriorating standards of environmental health in the oPt.
In the West Bank, 91 loads of solid waste were removed from camps in the first quarter of the year, but no further removals were made after March due to a lack of funds.
To put this in context, in the previous reporting period, 718 loads of solid waste were removed from camps between October and December 2003. The Agency was also able to replace a waste water pump in Dheiheshe Camp which has solved the problem of sewage flooding the main street. This alo ne benefited 11,922 people. Meanwhile, 42 garbage containers have been procured through new donor funding, and will be distributed in camps in the Hebron and Jerusalem areas, benefiting 82,724 refugees. In the Gaza Strip, the Job Creation Programme recruited 105 persons who were employed in the delivery of health education and environmental awareness activities at schools and other public venues. A total of 1,261 labourers were employed within the Gaza Strip to provide sanitation services within the camps.
Psychological Support and Counselling
Under its emergency
psychological counselling programme
, the Agency assigns counsellors to schools and health centres throughout the oPt. Armed conflict, the tight regime of closure and prolonged curfews are the sources of acute psychological stress for Palestinians, both adults and children. The signs of stress – particularly with children – are readily apparent. The Agency provides a range of services aimed at promoting the development of constructive coping mechanisms for refugees in crisis situations and preventing long-term psychological consequences. Programmes targeting schools, health centres, social services and community-based centres were underway throughout the reporting period.
In the Gaza Strip, projects employing 120 counsellors during the period aimed to provide psychological and psychosocial support to a population under severe stress.
Group guidance activities were undertaken in UNRWA’s schools in the Gaza Strip, with 16,304 sessions benefiting more than 371,000 children during the reporting period. These included sessions providing recreational activities and role playing exercises that enabled children to express their fears and anxieties. To ensure that support could also be provided at home, more than 412 group meetings were held with parents of school children, to help them deal with children suffering from trauma.
In the Gaza Strip, support was also offered to refugees of all ages who had undergone trauma as a result of the current fighting. In many cases, Relief and Social Services counsellors working in close cooperation with Agency social workers were able to conduct home visits. In other cases, personnel based in UNRWA’s health facilities were able to offer a range of group and individual interventions including a referral service for those requiring psychiatric assistance. In total, activities were undertaken according to the chart below.
In the Nablus area of the West Bank , 46 percent of people who approached the emergency psychological counselling programme presented symptoms of mood swings and increased levels of anxiety; the West Bank average was 35 percent. Also in the Nablus area, reports of psycho-somatic manifestations of stress in children, mainly bed wetting, increased to 22 percent of those cases referred to the programme - the highest figure for this sort of complaint over the past 12 months. Mental health counsellors reported high levels of anger, fear and violence amongst children, and high level of anxiety and helplessness among adults. Parents were unable to contain their feelings or to transmit a sense of security to their children
In addition to its education programme, West Bank Field programming enabled 600 refugees, including 310 women, 107 men and 412 children to meet with one of the 14 mental health counsellors for a one-time consultation. Another 652 refugees met with the counsellors on a regular basis in 5,869 sessions. The 652 individuals who sought counselling included 320 children, 231 women and 101 men.
Figures for the educational psychological support programme in the West Bank are shown in the following table.
A number of training courses were conducted during the period as follows:
· A three day training course was conducted on 20-22 April 2004 on ‘Disorders prevalent in adults’. The training targeted 15 medical officers and nurses working at Health Department, Nablus Area Office, and eight social workers and psychologists from invited NGOs.
· Five, two-day courses conducted on psychodrama were aimed at the administrative committees of Women Programme Centres’ in camps, as well as UNRWA Health and Social Services teams. The course presented coping mechanisms and ways of using drama to ease symptoms of stress.
· A three-day training course was conducted on the topic ‘The therapist as a healer’ for 20 Psychological Counselling Programme counsellors (29 April-1 May 2004).
· A course on communication skills was conducted by a PSP consultant and trainer to the staff of the UNRWA Jerusalem Health Centre (25-26 May 2004) and West Bank Field Office Pharmacy on 14-15 and 23 June 2004.
The crisis in the oPt has resulted in a major disruption in education at all levels, with students and teachers often unable to attend school because of closures and curfews. In addition to suffering academically, students have also witnessed events that have led to severe psychological trauma. When adequate funding permits, UNRWA provides remedial classes, extra-curricular and self learning activities in an attempt to counter the negative impact faced
In the West Bank the number of students enrolled in remedial classes remained stable. In December 2003, 4,951 students were engaged in remedial classes in Arabic and 4,290 in mathematics. The corresponding figures for June 2004 were 4,640 enrolled in Arabic classes and 4,679 in maths. A total of 169 teachers were engaged in the delivery of remedial lessons during the period.
In the first 3 months of the year in Gaza, the remedial programme assisted 43,950 students.
Regrettably, this programme had to be discontinued at the end of March, due to lack of funding.
After a break in recreational activities in the West Bank, again due to lack of funding, these resumed from April 2004. The type and level of activity undertaken can be seen in the table below:
In Gaza, over 8,000 students in 40 single shift schools benefited from a programme of physical education, arts, guidance and counselling and cultural activity.
Short-term courses were offered at UNRWA’s West Bank training centres to provide vocational and technical training in marketable skills to young refugees, thereby upgrading their technical competence and knowledge, as well as to re-train unemployed graduates. Activities also aim to maintain close relations with business, industry and other potential employers, improve employment opportunities of the graduates and enable training centres to respond to market demands and changes in the technology of work. Training funded through the Emergency Appeal is focussed on delivering marketable qualifications in a short timescale and has been very successful in spite of the poor state of the local economy. Of the 975 trainees who have benefited from the programme, 110 attended training courses for a total duration of 1,206 hours (140 hours each) and more than 60% found a job thereafter.
International Computer Driving Licence training at three levels was provided at Ramallah Men’s Training Centre, Ramallah Women’s Training Centre and Kalandia Training Centre to a total of 233 trainees, significantly enhancing their employability. Other courses included electrical installation, hairdressing and administrative courses.
In Gaza, Vocational Training funded through the Emergency Appeal resumed in the last 3 months of the period with ICDL training offered to 102 electrical trade trainees and 120 Vocational Training Centre graduates
Throughout January to June, Operations Support Officers (OSOs) continued to focus on facilitating the transfer of food, medicines and other forms of humanitarian aid in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the period, the programme assisted UNRWA staff in gaining access to a number of areas under closure regimes imposed by the IDF. In the Gaza Strip, this role was critical in enabling essential services to be provided to the population in Dugit and Al Mawasi.
As a direct result of the deterioration of the general situation in the Gaza Strip, OSOs facilitated access for emergency operations in Rafah and Tal El Sultan during the month of May. OSOs escorted UNRWA trucks distributing emergency food commodities and water to areas where the IDF had conducted extensive military operations. These emergency operations required liaison with the IDF at both senior and operational levels.
In the West Bank, OSOs focused their attention on the effects of the wall/fence on villages in its path, particularly consequences for the livelihoods and living conditions of refugees. This information is being used to assist UNRWA in its operational planning to ensure that levels of services to refugee communities are maintained as well as possible in spite of the wall/fence. OSO reports are available at
Monitoring has focused on the humanitarian impact of the first phase of the wall/fence in the Qalqilya, Tulkarem and Jenin districts. Approximately 200,000 people are affected by Phase I, having lost land, water and agricultural resources in the construction of the wall/fence itself and experiencing problems in accessing essential resources and services due to restricted gate opening schedules and onerous permit requirements.
OSOs updated profiles and completed case studies on priority locations, especially the enclaves isolated between the wall/fence and the Green Line. The profiles concentrated on key access, health, education and socio-economic issues, as well as highlighting the problems particular to each enclave. The accompanying case studies illustrated the human cost of the wall/fence, concentrating on the approximately 80,000 registered refugees already affected. Reports also focused on priority areas affected by the ongoing construction of Phase III of the wall/fence in the middle and southern sections of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where the Agency is concerned by the potentially serious implications for the provision of education, health care, relief and social services.
OSOs are now collaborating with OCHA in producing periodic updates on the impact of the wall/fence. The first joint-report was issued in mid-June. Updates include an outline of key developments in the construction and path of the wall/fence; a survey of access through the gates and a case study of the permit regime.
Incursions into UNRWA installations have continued unabated during the period, with the continued harassment of Agency staff and beneficiaries. In one case in Balata Camp, an UNRWA ambulance was used by the IDF as cover during confrontations with residents. UNRWA’s Jenin Camp Reconstruction Project was also suspended on two occasions during the period after incidents where staff members came under fire from armed Palestinians. In another incident, the IDF requisitioned the UNRWA compound in Tulkarem camp, forcibly detaining about 200 women and children overnight in the building, together with 10 UNRWA staff members.
During the large IDF incursion in the south of the Gaza Strip in May, the Rafah warehouse functioned as a hub, not only for deliveries and distribution but also as local command central and coordination point for all emergency activities. On May 20, all operations had to stop for one day after the warehouse came under sustained fire and was damaged by IDF tanks.
Between April and June, 80 incidents were recorded in the West Bank where access was denied, affecting 527 UNRWA staff members. In addition, vehicles were delayed in 253 cases, affecting 1,158 staff members. Two incidents were recorded where staff members were detained at checkpoints. As a result, the Agency lost more than 4,534 working hours.
Although progress has been noted in this regard, the issue of access to the West Bank Field Office for staff holding West Bank IDs continued to be a problem. At the end of June 2004, 361 out of 451 employees, or 80 percent, held valid entry permits--compared to 63 percent at the end of December 2003. Nonetheless, 63 staff members out of the 90 who do not hold a valid permit continue to be denied for alleged ‘security’ reasons. This has caused frustration among the concerned employees, while work schedules and regular activities at the Field Office continue to be hindered by the prolonged absence of staff.
In both Fields, restrictions on the movement of people and goods continue to hinder the Agency’s operations. On many occasions, this resulted in shortages in construction material, as well as an increase in the cost of materials (e.g. the price of steel doubled over the reporting period). Ability to deliver material is also affecting the price of particular construction items, which consequently vary among different projects. In several cases, engineers were not able to reach work sites and works were carried out without technical guidance.
Difficulties again arose in the area of warehousing and transportation due deliveries that were delayed by Israeli customs for unspecified reasons . Emergency food distribution for the first round of the Sixth Appeal, covering the second half of 2003, was finally completed; while the second round was able to start during the reporting period. Distributions were suspended on April 2, due new security procedures introduced by the Israeli authorities. This delayed the emergency food distribution by 20 days. All container operations were once again forced to stop on 16 May when the terminal once more denied the exit of all empty containers on security grounds – forcing the Agency to halt all imports from Ashdod port and to suspend emergency food distribution on 5 June.
The educational process was particularly affected by the curfews and closures regime. A total of 150 school days were lost due to these reasons. In addition, over 2,000 teacher days were lost, i.e. an average of 20 teachers per day, constituting 1 percent of the teaching staff and representing a cost of US$50,000 to the Agency. In addition, 117 instructors’ days were lost at the three Vocational Training Centres, at a total cost of US$4,446 to the Agency. In April and May, 67 teachers had to be hired under the Emergency Appeal, in order to replace teachers who were unable to reach their workplace. Construction of the wall/fence continued to disrupt education in the frontier villages of Biddo, Qatanneh, Beit Surik, Beit Inan, and Ramadin.
Meanwhile in Gaza, the end of the academic year was likewise disrupted on account of incursions and house demolitions. UNRWA was required to requisition three school buildings as temporary accommodation for people who were made homeless as a direct result of Israeli military activity. To enable the pupils to pass their exams, they had to be redeployed to other schools and placed in the afternoon shift. To mitigate the impact of these measures, the school year was extended for 10 days. Aside from the disruption caused to students at a key point in their education, this posed an additional administrative and financial burden on UNRWA’s Education Department.
This does not include the shelters rebuilt for Special Hardship Case families under the Emergency Job Creation component of the Appeals.
A. UNRWA Emergency Fact Sheet
B. Spreadsheets: pledges and contributions received, all appeals, as of 30 June 2004.
C. Spreadsheets: expenditure report, 2003 Emergency Appeal; Combined expenditure
report, earlier appeals.