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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
15 June 2004

OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

MID-YEAR REVIEW

2004

Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP)


The CAP is much more than an appeal for money. It is an inclusive and coordinated programme cycle of:

The CHAP is a strategic plan for humanitarian response in a given country or region and includes the following elements:

The CHAP is the foundation for developing a Consolidated Appeal or, when crises break or natural disasters occur, a Flash Appeal. The CHAP can also serve as a reference for organisations deciding not to appeal for funds through a common framework. Under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator, the CHAP is developed at field level by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Country Team. This team mirrors the IASC structure at headquarters and includes UN agencies, and standing invitees, i.e. the International Organization for Migration, the Red Cross Movement, and NGOs that belong to ICVA, Interaction, or SCHR. Non-IASC members, such as national NGOs, can be included, and other key stakeholders in humanitarian action, in particular host governments and donors, should be consulted.

The Humanitarian Coordinator is responsible for the annual preparation of the consolidated appeal document . The document is launched globally each November to enhance advocacy and resource mobilisation. An update, known as the Mid-Year Review, is presented to donors in June of each year.

Donors provide resources to appealing agencies directly in response to project proposals. The Financial Tracking Service (FTS), managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), is a database of donor contributions and can be found on www.reliefweb.int/fts

In sum, the CAP is about how the aid community collaborates to provide civilians in need the best protection and assistance available, on time.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

2. CHANGES IN THE CONTEXT AND HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES

3. REVIEW OF THE COMMON HUMANITARIAN ACTION PLAN
4. THE OUTLOOK: TOWARDS 2005

5. STRATEGIC GOALS, SECTOR OBJECTIVES AND RESPONSES
ANNEX I. NEW PROJECTS

ANNEX II.

Table I. Summary of Requirements and Contributions
By Appealing Organisation and By Sector







1. Executive Summary

The number of Palestinians dependent on humanitarian assistance is growing. Almost 40% of the population – or about 1.4 million people – are facing particular hardship and are food insecure. They rely on assistance, mostly food, to supplement their incomes. Of these, around 600,000 people are depending almost entirely on outside aid. This assistance has kept malnutrition rates from soaring in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Adding to this group is a growing number of “new poor” – people who have lost their employment either because of the economic collapse or the closing of access to jobs in Israel – and have now little or no income. This group, around 10% of the Palestinian population or 350,000 people, is slipping rapidly into the food insecure category. Malnutrition in this group in the West Bank has leapt to 9%. As yet aid has not specifically targeted this group but is likely to be needed in the coming months.

Emergency accommodation and re-housing to meet the needs of people whose houses have been demolished is becoming an increasing priority. Since September 2000, approximately 18,838 people lost their homes in the Gaza Strip. In the first 10 days of May 2004, the Israeli Defence Forces demolished, or damaged beyond repair, 131 residential buildings in the Gaza Strip rendering 1,100 people newly homeless. The majority of the demolitions have taken place in Rafah in southern Gaza.

Israel, as the Occupying Power, has the main responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet the needs of the Palestinian population. To date, however, the humanitarian cost of the occupation is shouldered by the international donor community. And despite increasing needs, so far the donor response to the 2004 Consolidated Appeal has been slow – only 26.4% or US$ 74.9 million has been provided. The delivery of assistance is currently affected by severe funding shortages.

The underlying cause of the Palestinian humanitarian situation remains unchanged: access. Around 750 checkpoints, roadblocks, earth mounds and gates have sealed entire villages from main urban areas, people from their workplaces and patients from hospitals. The construction of the West Bank Barrier is proceeding rapidly. Its route throughout the West Bank has cut people off from their land, families, services and businesses. Until access within the occupied Palestinian territory is improved, the humanitarian situation will not improve. Although the economy has grown in the last 12 months, this modest growth will not halt the decline in bottom sectors of the community where coping mechanisms have been eroded.

While Israel has legitimate security concerns to stop attacks on its citizens, its response – closures, curfews, house demolitions, targeted assassination- has an impact on the Palestinian population collectively.

With the situation largely as predicted, agencies have made slight modifications to their projects. Agencies will continue to pursue the objectives set out in the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) while adjusting their programmes to address new needs, for example those arising by the Barrier construction and in the south of the Gaza Strip. Agencies will also prepare for possible changes to the situation arising from a potential Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

As the needs are greater at this point of the year 2004, the response by the humanitarian community will have to be greater. And unless the response to the 2004 CAP is more positive, many needs will remain unmet.


2. CHANGES IN THE CONTEXT AND HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES

During the past six months, progress towards implementation of the Road Map peace plan stalled. In February 2004, Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced his intention to withdraw unilaterally from settlements housing around 7,500 people in the Gaza Strip, a proposal endorsed by the United States (U.S.) in mid-April. How and even whether the Gaza disengagement plan will be implemented is still being discussed; but the plan could have a major bearing on the future of the conflict.

Tension between Israelis and Palestinians was especially high during March and April 2004 following Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas leaders Sheik Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Without a political breakthrough, political violence looks set to continue. The Israeli response to Palestinian militant threats continues in the same pattern as the previous three years: a further tightening of restrictions, continued limits on Palestinian movement, continued incursions into Palestinian areas and ongoing conflict. This security regime will in turn heighten the factors that have led to humanitarian suffering in the occupied Palestinian territory.

The impact is borne overwhelmingly by civilians in Israel, in the West Bank and particularly in the Gaza Strip. Since the CAP was published in November 2003, 55 Israelis and 330 Palestinians have been killed. Another 240 Israelis and 1,795 Palestinians were injured.

The toll of Palestinian fatalities and injuries in the past five months has risen by more than 20% compared to the previous period. This is due to a larger number of incursions into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip densely populated areas, particularly Nablus in December-January, and in Rafah and other parts of the Strip since the beginning of 2004.

Dilemmas of continuing humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
The CAP highlighted two dilemmas underlying the provision of humanitarian assistance in the oPt. First, the primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the oPt is the closure regime. According to the World Bank calculations, if aid were doubled to US$ 2 billion per year, poverty would fall by seven percent by the end of 2004. If closures were lifted, poverty would fall by 15%.1

Second, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) notes in its official commentary to the Fourth Geneva Conventions that “…the Occupying Power …continue[s] at all times to be responsible for supplying the population, in order that relief operations might retain their humanitarian character.” According to this analysis, as the occupying power under international humanitarian law (IHL), it is Israel who is obliged to provide humanitarian assistance and not the international community.

3. REVIEW OF THE COMMON HUMANITARIAN ACTION PLAN

In 2003, United Nations (UN) agencies agreed that the most likely scenario for 2004 would be a gradual decline in the humanitarian situation. Such a decline would be the result of continued Israeli security measures, including movement restrictions, demolition of property and confiscation of land, and the construction of the West Bank Barrier. This would result in continuing economic decline, denial of access to basic services, and thereby further strain Palestinians’ ability to cope.

The overall goal of the 2004 CAP was to limit this anticipated decline – “to provide relief and build on people’s coping mechanisms to support their livelihoods and prevent further asset depletion”.

There have been some less pessimistic developments. The World Bank has not recorded an increase in the overall level of poverty in the past six months,2 and the devastating economic decline and resultant job losses of 2002 and early 2003 appear to have levelled out. According to World Bank estimates, the number of people employed in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip rose substantially in 2003 and the economy grew by around six percent. The World Bank points to a decrease in the intensity of closure in 2003, the use of coping mechanisms by Palestinians and the positive impact of the transfer of arrears from the Government of Israel as possible reasons for this growth. In particular, coping mechanisms include the adaptation of businesses to accommodate closure, access to outside funds, or support from the 150,000 Palestinians employed by the Palestinian Authority or humanitarian organisations.

The scenario of gradual decline in the humanitarian situation, anticipated by agencies in late 2003, has materialised during the first part of 2004. The modest economic growth falls well short of what is needed to lift the living standards of a population that has been locked into a humanitarian crisis characterized by a collapse in output, poverty, malnutrition and widespread destruction of infrastructure and private agricultural and commercial assets. Labour force data mirrors the decline observed by UN agencies. Unemployment rates recovered from the predominantly curfew-caused record high in 2002 of 41% (31% by the narrower International Labour Organization (ILO) measure) to the 2003 low-point of 30% (still more than double pre-crisis unemployment). However, closure has continued despite the reduction of curfews, and unemployment has once again been on the rise for the last two consecutive quarters, having reached 32% in the first three months of 2004. This data is consistent with World Bank estimates of growth in 2003 as a recovery over the severe economic decline of 2002. Economic performance can, therefore, be expecte d to continue to depend on the severity of Israeli-imposed closure in each region of the oPt and the freedom of movement and access made available to economic agents of various economic significance and influence.

Humanitarian needs have continued or increased among two social groups and in two geographical areas in the past months:

3.1 ERODING COPING STRATEGIES OF VULNERABLE GROUPS


THE CHRONIC POOR - The needs of the chronic poor have continued to grow. These persons, or Social Hardship Cases – defined as households with chronically ill members, female-headed households, large families with unskilled breadwinners and the long-term unemployed – had few resources before September 2000 and many were in receipt of regular assistance before the beginning of the Intifada . Their mechanisms for coping with increasing hardship have largely been exhausted by three years of conflict, and they depend heavily on external assistance.

The chronic poor are currently ‘first priority’ for agencies disbursing humanitarian aid in the oPt. Because they are generally low-skilled or unable to work, this group is unlikely to benefit much from the limited economic growth and job creation. A large proportion of this group will remain dependent on humanitarian assistance for the foreseeable future.



The “NEW POOR”- A substantial group of Palestinians lost their jobs during the first two years of the Intifada, either through business failure or through loss of access to markets or places of employment, particularly in Israel. This previously employed group lost status and income, but in 2000 they did have savings and some assets. Their coping mechanisms were, therefore, more robust than those of the chronic poor .

This group of “new poor”– most of who live in the West Bank – has consequently been considered ‘second priority’ by aid agencies. Because of funding shortages and the prioritization of aid towards the chronic poor, they have received assistance, such as food aid, only intermittently during the past six months. The chronic poor have received regular and substantial food assistance as envisaged in the CAP.3

There are now worrying signs that the capacity of the new poor to cope with the crisis is beginning to collapse: If the current political and economic situation prevails, donors will need to provide higher levels of food or cash assistance, particularly to the West Bank, to support the new poor more consistently in addition to the chronic poor and social hardship cases. 3.2 COMMUNITIES ISOLATED BY CLOSURE

During the past six months, it has been possible to discern the following trends in the closure regime:
Relaxation of some aspects of the ‘institutionalised’ closure regime
The overall number of physical obstacles blocking movement around the West Bank – such as earth mounds, roadblocks and checkpoints – has remained broadly similar, at around 750.5 In some areas of the northern West Bank, internal movement restrictions have been periodically reduced – notably where the Barrier construction has taken place. The checkpoint at the only entrance to Qalqiliya, for example, remained unmanned for substantial periods during early 2004. The number of days of curfew has also been lower than in the previous six months.6

However, the relaxation of some aspects of the closure regime has not resulted in significantly greater freedom of movement in the West Bank. Israel retains the capacity to impose tight movement restrictions. Restrictions such as checkpoints can be, and often are, re-imposed at short notice. People therefore continue to assume that they will be delayed or denied access when undertaking even short journeys and are making adjustments to their economic and social behaviour to accommodate closure. The West Bank Barrier and new permits system
The West Bank Barrier constitutes an increasingly substantial part of the closure regime. Approximately 180km of ditches, trenches, roads, razor wire, electronic fences and concrete walls have already been constructed in the West Bank. The Barrier in the northern West Bank is now almost complete, and its construction is also progressing rapidly in the Ramallah, Jerusalem and Bethlehem governorates. If the Barrier construction continues as announced by the Government of Israel in October 2003, approximately 191,000 acres – or about 13.5% – of West Bank land (excluding East Jerusalem) will lie between the Barrier and the Green Line. This area, which is inhabited by 189,000 Palestinians, will include 39,000 acres enclosed in a series of eight enclaves. A further 152,000 acres will be caught between the Green Line and the Barrier in closed areas.

The Israeli authorities have installed a network of gates in the Barrier, and a system of special permits to control movement through the Barrier. Varying restrictions and conditions apply for each gate, but access remains heavily restricted.7

New humanitarian needs have been created by the Barrier construction. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and WFP report higher levels of food insecurity in areas affected by the Barrier than in other parts of the West Bank.8 Increasing numbers of people in the ‘closed area’ between the Green Line and the Barrier report major difficulties in accessing jobs and agricultural land.9 Access to health care has also been limited by the Barrier: so far, two hospitals and 26 primary healthcare clinics have been directly affected, and the number of communities isolated from health care providers continues to increase.10 Children in affected communities face difficulties reaching their schools. Humanitarian agencies in the oPt are working to adapt their programmes to meet the needs of communities affected by the Barrier. Aid agencies also face the dilemma of how best to provide assistance to communities affected by a construction which is supposed to be temporary, but which is, in practice, changing many aspects of social and economic behaviours. Closure of the Gaza Strip
As the Gaza Strip is completely enclosed, its economic viability depends largely on access permitted by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF); the only point of access for people wishing to travel between Israel and the Gaza Strip is Erez Crossing, in the north of the Strip.11 Commercial goods are permitted to enter and exit the Gaza Strip via Karni terminal.

In March 2004, a suicide bomber accessed the Ashdod port through a container exiting Karni killing 10 Israelis while three cars containing explosives were discovered at Erez. Israel has reinforced its security measures to prevent specific terror incidents or attempt of attacks. These include the prevention of crossing for Palestinian men under 35 years old and the regular closure of the checkpoints. The resulting closure of the Erez industrial zone and crossing into Israel, and the suspension of normal operations at Karni for long periods during March and April 2004 significantly impacted the livelihoods of people living int. During this period, Palestinian workers, each of whom supports an average of 7.7 persons, were no longer able to access jobs in Israel in comparison to an average of 10,000 Palestinians working in Israel or in the Erez industrial zone in February. UN agency staff – both international and Palestinian – faced serious difficulties in crossing Erez during the first half of 2004, and transport of goods through Karni terminal was imped UN agency staff – both international and Palestinian – faced serious difficulties in crossing Erez during the first half of 2004, and transport of goods through Karni terminal was impeded. This adversely affected the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The restrictions imposed by the IDF on the movement of goods through Karni forced the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to suspend its emergency food aid programme to 600,000 refugees for almost a month. Emergency programmes in health, infrastructure and employment were also affected.
4. THE OUTLOOK: TOWARDS 2005

A central goal of the CAP was to prevent further depletion of Palestinian economic and social resources.

Although assistance provided under the CAP framework has created jobs for unemployed workers and has helped to compensate for Palestinians’ inability to access basic services, the cumulative affects of closures and long-term unemployment do appear to be exhausting the coping mechanisms of a large number of Palestinians.12 Increasingly, people are unable to pay electricity and water bills and spend less on health and education. Many are consuming less food or eat food of a lower quality.13

These trends do not imply that the CAP requires substantial revision in mid-2004. Acute humanitarian needs have been created among communities most affected by current Israeli policies – notably those living in the south of the Gaza Strip and around the Barrier. Agencies are adjusting their programmes to address these needs, for example by considering how to provide education service to areas rendered inaccessible by Barrier construction. Agencies are also consulting with line ministries and coordination is taking place through the guidance of the Palestinian Planning Ministry within the context of the Economic Stabilisation and Recovery Strategy launched in November 2003. Some strategic goals have also been fine-tuned.

Funding shortages
The delivery of assistance is currently being affected by funding shortages. The average level of funding requirements met is 26.4% for the 2004 CAP mid-year review. UNRWA, with 27.9% of funding requirements met, is particularly exposed to this under-funding situation, given the importance of its role and contribution to the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the oPt. UNRWA is concerned about the implications for the large number of refugees who rely on the “safety net” it provides for their well-being. All international organizations involved in the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for the oPt called the attention of the international community to the funding shortfall. Funding for health and psychosocial assistance sectors has been particularly sparse, and there is also a major shortage of funding in the infrastructure and employment sector.14

Funding status by Appealing Organisation
Organisation
Requested
Pledged
Percentage
CARE
3,240,000
0
0.0
FAO
3,960,000
1,278,976
32.3
OCHA
2,571,564
1,288,790
50.1
UNDP
46,500,000
13,560,000
29.2
UNESCO
1,000,000
0
0.0
UNFPA
4,365,000
0
0.0
UNICEF
13,838,000
2,671,756
19.3
UNRWA
190,061,235
53,081,018
27.9
UNSECOORD
514,754
0
0.0
WFP
34,341,000
3,054,621
23.1
WHO
4,741,600
0
0.0

However, humanitarian assistance has prevented overall rapid deterioration in the socio-economic situation and in the delivery of essential services in the oPt. Humanitarian agencies must continue to pursue the objectives set out in the CAP in support of the Palestinian population, and to seek donor support for unfunded projects. Agencies must also be prepared for possible changes to the situation arising from the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. 5. STRATEGIC GOALS, SECTOR OBJECTIVES AND RESPONSES

5.1 HEALTH

STRATEGIC GOAL
Health care assistance is intended to promote health for the Palestinian population through the provision of support to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, UNRWA and other Palestinian health care providers, to deliver essential services, and to protect the health system from further deterioration.

The closures have created substantial problems for health care provision in the oPt. People are unable to access clinics and hospitals, and as a result, treatment of chronic diseases and the delivery of emergency and obstetric care have degenerated. Levels of immunity to infectious diseases are also falling.

Progress In Achieving Objectives
To counter the effects of closures, UN agencies have been supporting the work of mobile primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) in areas such as Bethlehem and Nablus. UN agencies have also trained 400 health workers and 260 health professionals in emergency obstetrics at the community level, and 200 mental health workers in community mental health. Vaccines have been supplied and delivered for 2004. These measures have strengthened public health protection in the oPt.

The flow and quality of health information has also improved. The immunization information system has now been harmonised between UNRWA and the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Information on health issues is also provided on the Healthinforum website and through its bi-monthly newsletters. Health-related advocacy activities have been developed by the UN advocacy group, including a campaign with Israeli organizations to improve access to health services, and the distribution of a film on reproductive health.

A national mental health policy was signed, and mental service delivery strengthened. A national body has also been established to develop a strategy on Integrated Early Childhood Development.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
Three reported factors have added significantly to problems in the provision of health care for Palestinians in the past six months:
Access restrictions, political instability and the Palestinian Authority budget shortfall have also affected the Palestinian Ministry of Health capacity to develop and implement a comprehensive health policy between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Access restrictions may also have contributed to falling sero-conversion rates17, and consequently lower levels of immunity among children to measles and polio.18

Priority Responses For the Coming Six Months
The CHAP health strategy will be adjusted to focus increasingly on emergency response in areas affected by the Barrier. Agencies estimate that the type of health services most affected by the Barrier are immunization, family planning, prenatal care, birth care, ambulance services, hospital care and care for chronic conditions. Agencies will undertake a needs assessment to collect health data and identify vulnerable groups in areas affected by the Barrier.

The health sector will also strengthen advocacy for improved humanitarian access. Emergency oriented interventions to arrest the degradation of public health standards (supplementary immunization, administration of micronutrients) will also be increased: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) seeks to implement a new project to provide supplementary measles immunization and vitamin A to all children aged 9 to 59 months throughout the oPt.

5.2 FOOD SECURITY

STRATEGIC GOAL
Food security sector intervention is intended to assist the population most affected by the crisis, and to contribute to preserving the few remaining assets of the destitute and food insecure households. Food security sector initiatives are further intended to prevent a deterioration of the nutritional status of malnourished children and their families, and support the capacity of Palestinian Authority institutions to enhance and promote food security.

Lack of physical access to employment, markets, and agricultural lands is the primary cause of food insecurity in the oPt19. Roughly 38% of the population of the oPt is now considered food insecure, and a further 26% is under threat of becoming food insecure in the near future.20

Progress In Achieving Objectives
Progress has been made towards the goal of providing emergency food aid to social groups facing greatest food insecurity. WFP has been well supported by the donor community both in terms of absolute funding and the early receipt of this funding. The beneficiary caseload has been prioritised according to needs and vulnerability to food insecurity. The Hardship Social Caseload, Supplementary feeding and Institutional feeding programs are the first priority and have received food aid as programmed.21

The second priority for WFP is the ‘new poor’ or newly unemployed. These beneficiaries have received a reduced ration: programmes have run for three months instead of four months due to the late arrival of commodities.

Food assistance has also helped to support employment and sustain the Palestinian economy. The local olive oil procurement initiative has infused a significant injection of cash directly into the hands of some poor West Bank farmers. The procurement of vitamin and mineral enriched wheat flour in the Gaza Strip has supported local production and transport, and helped to alleviate logistical problems associated with importing wheat flour to the Strip.

In the agriculture sector, FAO and the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) are supporting the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture towards implementation of an Agricultural Revitalization Programme. Pilot activities, including greenhouse rehabilitation, support to livestock production, improved rangeland management and support to marketing, are being implemented. FAO is also providing technical assistance to the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the establishment of a Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System. This follows recommendations stemming from the FAO-WFP Food Security Assessment Report, which was published in March 2004.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
A decline in agricultural production is anticipated for the coming harvest, partly because of reduced access to many productive agricultural areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To ensure continued analysis of the food security situation in the oPt, FAO is seeking additional funding for up-dating and maintaining the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping System in addition to related training and capacity building initiatives. Funding will also be required to enhance the capacity of FAO to take a lead role in coordinating agriculture assistance and in mobilizing necessary technical guidance to support the numerous humanitarian actors involved in food security, agriculture and related activities

Although WFP food assistance has been well funded, UNRWA is struggling to keep its food aid programme running in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. UNRWA faces a serious funding shortfall, and costs of delivery have increased because some commodities have become more expensive.22 The Agency has consequently been forced to reduce the number of beneficiaries receiving food parcels in the West Bank, and has also been obliged to decrease the size of food parcels distributed. UNRWA’s plan to cover 65% of the daily calorific and protein requirements of its West Bank beneficiaries has been amended: the food parcel is now covering only 40% of these daily requirements. Without further funding for the Gaza Strip programme, UNRWA will only be able to make two rounds of food distributions instead of the eight originally envisioned for 2004 in the Gaza Strip.

CARE did not receive funding though the CAP, but has nonetheless continued with its programme of food security for impoverished women.

Access restrictions have affected the movement of staff and cargo, both in the West Bank and particularly at the Karni crossing to the Gaza Strip. In the West Bank, food distribution is regularly delayed or cancelled because of movement restrictions. Both UNRWA and WFP also faced significant difficulties in transporting food to the Gaza Strip during March and April.

Priority Responses For the Coming Six Months
Agencies in the food sector will continue to work together and through the Task Force on Project Implementation to negotiate with the Government of Israel for access to be enhanced to enable delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Support and capacity building directed at Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions is an increasing feature of food security intervention. There has been a gradual but sustained shift towards working with PA ministries for food security interventions, executing projects in cooperation with the ministries and direct financial investment in the Palestinian Authority physical infrastructure and capacity to receive and distribute food aid.


5.3 INFRASTRUCTURE AND EMPLOYMENT

STRATEGIC GOAL
Intervention in support of infrastructure and employment is intended to offer emergency employment opportunities to those most affected by the crisis, in particular the refugees. Workers are employed on vital infrastructure projects. In some cases, the main objective of such employment programmes is the supply of income to vulnerable beneficiaries through work.

Despite a substantial increase in the number of jobs available in the occupied Palestinian territory during 2003, the labour supply also grew rapidly and the number of unemployed people declined by only 19,000.23 Unemployment now stands at 32.3% of the workforce if discouraged workers are included.24

The chronic poor, which often lack skills or capacity to work, are unlikely to have benefited significantly from economic growth during 2003. Employment creation programmes continue to provide both income and dignity to vulnerable individuals and families. They also help to ensure that trained workers, such as medical staff, are able to maintain their skills.

Progress In Achieving Objectives
Jobs created under the CAP framework have provided labour opportunities for poor unemployed refugees. Job creation schemes also inject money into the local economy and assist in the construction and repair of infrastructure. From January 2004 to date, a total of 431,067 days of employment have been created by UNRWA. This represents 91% of the “job days” planned for the first quarter. Workers were hired directly to undertake UNRWA programs. Also 99,348 job days were created through construction, maintenance, community projects, and through contracting local camp committees and small private industries for maintenance or construction of infrastructure. Infrastructure necessary for the provision of public services such as schools and health centres has also been maintained or built through these programmes. UNRWA also provides temporary jobs for around 4,500 workers in the Gaza Strip.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
Funding shortages threaten the sustainability of infrastructure projects. Funding shortages mean that refugees have remained in poor living conditions, with little or no income to help sustain themselves except the limited cash assistance offered by UNRWA for the poorest.

Infrastructure repairs continue to be necessary for general maintenance and following Israeli military incursions. Between 31 August 2003 and 31 March 2004, IDF incursions into Rafah alone resulted in the complete demolition of 972 homes, and the partial demolition of a further 158. 10,579 people were made homeless during this period. On 10 May 2004, UNRWA announced that a further 1,100 people had been made homeless in the previous ten days. Incursions into Rafah have also caused major damage to water and electricity supplies. A recent inter-agency assessment found that between 10% and 40% of Rafah’s water network has been damaged by armoured bulldozers, which have dug deep trenches into roads and residential areas.

The Barrier construction has also increased the need for water and sanitation assistance: 26 groundwater wells have already been confiscated for the construction, and another 14 are threatened for confiscation. More than 35,000 metres of water pipes have also been destroyed.25

Priority Responses For the Coming Six Months
The need for shelter has increased as a consequence of IDF house demolitions in the south of the Gaza Strip. Provision of adequate shelter to victims of home or shelter destruction, especially in the Gaza Strip, should be an increased focus for UN agencies.


5.4 EDUCATION

STRATEGIC GOAL
Support to the education sector aims to ensure that all children in the oPt are able to access education in numeracy and literacy and complete the 2003-2004 school year. All Palestinian schools should also be able to function using the national curriculum or adequate alternatives. Intervention in the education sector is also aiming to achieve the six Dakar Education for All (EFA) goals, as well as the priorities set out in the Palestinian Authority ’s Five Year Development Plan. The goal is to meet emergency needs while continuing to focus on long term development objectives.

There is evidence of a serious decline in educational standards. UNRWA reported recently that exam pass rates in West Bank schools had declined significantly between 2001-02 and 2002-03:
Percentage of UNWRA West Bank students who obtained a pass mark or above

(Average, Grades 4-6)
Progress In Achieving Objectives
Remedial education is considered one of the most effective way to enable children in the most affected areas to maintain their educational attainment in basic literacy and numeracy. Since November 2003, UNRWA has assigned 167 teachers to remedial education; 11,087 pupils benefited from remedial Arabic tuition; and 10,370 pupils benefited from mathematics tuition. UNICEF also developed worksheets for grades 1-6 in Arabic, Math, Science and English for 90,000 children in the most affected areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
The provision of education has been hindered during the past six months by further the construction of the Barrier, closure and curfews, and by house demolitions in the Gaza Strip. In the past six months,
126 school days have been lost as a result of closure, curfew, the assassination of Sheik Ahmad Yassin, or because of protests against the construction of the Barrier.

In the Gaza Strip, field visits by agencies’ staff and training workshops had to be postponed or cancelled following various security incidents in March and April 2004. Staff with West Bank ID was not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip during this period. Travel for international staff was also heavily restricted.

House demolitions have also affected the provision of education. Three school buildings in Rafah were damaged during an IDF incursion in February, and 60 sets of textbooks and other items had to be replaced following incursions into Rafah in late 2003. An UNRWA school was also seriously damaged during an IDF incursion into Beit Lahia in April.

Lack of funding has prevented implementation of other aspects of the response plan, including after school community activities, the development of self-learning materials, and mine risk education. Under funding and access problems also prevent implementation of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) psycho-social counselling for Palestinian students.

Priority Responses for the Coming Six Months
The Barrier construction and closures have forced agencies to reassess how to deliver minimal services to less accessible areas. Remedial education remains important, helping students to recover from the loss of school days. Additional contingency plans to meet emergency needs are also being reviewed and modified. A set of indicators for education under emergencies are being developed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF and concerned international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as Save the Children.

5.5 PSYCHOSOCIAL ASSISTANCE

STRATEGIC GOAL
Psychosocial assistance aims to help reduce the negative psychological and psycho-social impact of violence on women, children and their families, and on other vulnerable groups, and increase the psycho-social resilience of the population.

Constant violence, movement restrictions and economic stagnation continue to erode the population’s coping mechanisms, gradually weakening children’s and adults’ potential for resiliency. Professionals working with children in most exposed places, such as for example Rafah or Khan Younis, report that children find it increasingly difficult to concentrate at school and to plan for the future.

Progress In Achieving Objectives
UNRWA is implementing psycho-social programs, including recreational activities for children to be implemented at schools, health centres and community centres to assist people affected by conflict and closure. UNRWA psycho-social counsellors are employed as both therapists and trainers, working to increase the knowledge of psycho-social problems among teachers, doctors or parents of traumatized children. Their work has allowed an early detection of post traumatic disorders for treatment and for referral to a specialized institution if needed. Counsellors have also helped health staff and parents to understand how to cope with psycho-social problems . Important steps have been taken towards the development of a national psychosocial policy, improvement of professional standards and capacity building. UNICEF and the National Plan of Action for Children – a semi-governmental organization under the Palestinian Ministry of Planning – are working together on these projects, which should be completed by the end of 2004.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
During the past six months, some areas such as Nablus and the southern of the Gaza Strip have been particularly affected by violence. Many communities also are being affected by the trauma associated with loss of land, income and access to services, as the Barrier construction continues down the West Bank and through Jerusalem.

UN agencies continue to be adversely affected by difficulties in access, especially to the Gaza Strip. For example, UNFPA has been forced to revise its programme of training for health care providers to include training in the Gaza Strip and to consider the provision of core training sessions in Amman to counteract access restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities. Such revisions have substantial cost implications.

The funding situation for psychosocial support in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is particularly severe: only 18 per cent of UNRWA projects in the West Bank and 25 per cent of projects in the Gaza Strip have been pledged or funds were received. As a result, UNRWA must reduce its provision of psychosocial assistance. None of WHO projects for psychosocial assistance have been funded.

Priority Responses For The Coming Six Months
The provision of greater psychosocial support for communities affected by the Barrier construction will be a priority for the coming six months. The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) is also seeking to provide increased psychosocial support for women in the northern West Bank to ensure that they are able to access existing services. Implementation of the project will cost US$ 65,000, of which US$ 40,000 has already been pledged by UNDP.


5.6 CO-ORDINATION

STRATEGIC GOAL
The co-ordination sector seeks to develop integrated policy and operational co-ordination at various levels: between UN agencies, and at the governorate, municipal and local levels. It will advocate for an improvement of the humanitarian situation through the production of reliable and accurate information.

Progress In Achieving Objectives
Substantial progress has been made in local level co-ordination, with the establishment of six OCHA Field Co-ordination Units and humanitarian co-ordination meetings throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Local co-ordination meetings are helping to improve information sharing in the humanitarian field and to improve links between local authorities, NGOs and UN agencies. OCHA is also developing a database to establish “Who does what where” in the humanitarian field.

At the central level, OCHA acts as secretariat to both the UN system’s operational planning and policy co-ordination bodies on humanitarian affairs. The Operational Co-ordination Group, chaired by UNRWA, meets regularly to share information and discuss issues relating to the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.

A UN Inter-Agency Advocacy Group has been established to promote the development of a unified and coordinated advocacy strategy for the UN agencies and offices in the oPt. In March, UN agencies agreed a joint press release on the situation in Rafah; such joint advocacy work should continue in the second part of 2004.

Humanitarian operations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been supported by UNRWA Operation Support Officers, who monitor the situation on the ground and help to secure access for staff and vehicles. The Swedish Rescue Services Agency (SRAS) also provides escorts to UNRWA convoys and staff during deliveries of food.

Changing Circumstances, Unmet Needs
Requests for donor funding to enhance the security of UN staff have not been met. The 2004 CAP called for the establishment of a common radio room for Israel and the oPt, which would form the nucleus of an integrated and dedicated security coordination system. This should enhance the security of UN staff by providing real time, 24/7 security updates, tracking movements of staff in all sensitive areas, facilitating emergency response in crisis situations and undertaking crucial liaison and communications tasks. No donor funding has been pledged or received for this project. The Radio Room is already under construction, and UN agencies are considering options for staffing the project.

Priority Responses For the Coming Six Months
The response plan for humanitarian co-ordination will remain broadly similar for the forthcoming six months. Interagency co-ordination work will be reinforced through the maintenance of sector working groups to provide joint analysis of needs for the 2005 CAP. OCHA will continue to provide detailed information about the needs in the oPt. UN agencies will also work together to enhance understanding of how humanitarian needs are changing, and how aid projects are affecting Palestinian communities.


ANNEX I.
NEW PROJECTS
HEALTH SECTOR

Appealing Agency:UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND
Project Title:Measles immunization campaign associated with administration of vitamin A
Project Code:oPt-04/H32
Sector:Health
Themes:Emergency Immunization, Emergency Nutrition
Objective: The overall objective is to sustain polio- and measles free status and maintain immunization rates above 90% for the 7 Expanded programme on immunization (EPI) antigens. The specific objective is to provide supplementary measles immunization as well as vitamin A supplementation for all children aged 9 to 59 months all over the oPt.
Targeted Beneficiaries: 540,000 children aged 9 months – 5 years
Implementing Partner:Palestinian Ministry of Health, UNRWA, NGOs
Project Duration: May - December 2004
Funds Requested:US$ 909,091


Project Summary
Since the current uprising, the availability, quality and utilization of child health services have been jeopardized, as a consequence of restrictions in access for patients and health staff, disruption of the supply chain, lack of continuous education and supervision of health staff and social mobilization for caregivers. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the last half of 2003, with financial support from UNICEF, shows that despite high – above 95% - immunization coverage for measles vaccine reported, the sero-conversion rates (existence of effective antibodies against measles as consequence of the vaccination) in children aged 18 to 30 months is only 67%, with values below 60% in some districts in the Gaza Strip. This maybe related to the degradation of the vaccine during the transportation and exposure to light at the checkpoints, breaks in the cold chain, possibly due to breaks in power supply, as well as to the decrease in quality of services due to lack of monitoring and supe rvision. Another survey conducted in 2003 showed that about 22% of children under five had biochemical vitamin A deficiency; an additional 54% had borderline values at risk for getting deficiency.

To address these issues, a measles campaign for all children aged 9 to 59 months is proposed, in order to ensure full immunity to measles and prevent further outbreaks. At the same time, the children will receive a dose of vitamin A, in order to strengthen their capacity to respond to infection, especially diarrhoeal diseases in the forthcoming summer season. The supplementary immunization will be provided by health services operated by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, UNRWA and NGOs, within existing health facilities or mobile immunization posts located in residential areas, mosques etc. In addition, UNICEF is working with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to ensure sustainability of the EPI services. A national EPI review is scheduled later this year.

Activities:
FINANCIAL SUMMARY
Budget Items
US$
    Provision of vitamin A, vaccines and vaccine-related supplies, including freight, transportation and logistic support for vaccine supply management
200,000
    Training of health workers
75,000
    Advocacy and social mobilization
100,000
    Data collection and management
50,000
    Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation
100,000
    Operational costs for the campaign (transportation, incentives)
275,000
    Indirect Programme support costs
109,091
    Total
909,091
* The actual recovery rate on individual contributions will be calculated in accordance with the Executive Board Decision 2003/9 of 5 June 2003.



PSYCHO-SOCIAL SECTOR
Appealing Agency:
    UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT FUND FOR WOMEN
Project Title:
    Supporting Palestinian Women’s Access to Humanitarian Services
Project Code:
    oPt-04/H33
Sector:
    Health
Themes:
    Psychosocial support
Objectives:
    To promote local women networks and empower them to cope with the effects of the worsening situation
    To improve access of women to humanitarian aid and services
Targeted Beneficiaries:
    Rural and refugee women (in ‘Allar and Jenin refugee camp)
Implementing Partners:
    Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees/Rural Women’s Development Society, ‘Allar municipality, UNRWA Women’s Programme Center (Jenin)
Project Duration:
    June 2004 – December 2004
Funds Requested:
    US$ 165,000

Project Summary
New realities on the ground have not merely hindered development, but have caused its regression and left the Palestinian population facing major socio-economic challenges. Palestinian women are among the most vulnerable groups in this context and have been hard-hit. Aside from coping with the psychological trauma of loss, women have been deprived of economic security and are being forced to seek means to financially support the household – at a time when closures, blockades, loss of housing, as well as destruction of property, crops and land are making it increasingly difficult to engage in economic activities. Many women have been denied access to education and health services, not least of all, counselling. This has led to a severe deterioration in mental and physical health of women, compounded by physical and mental strain endured by other members of the family, particularly children. The problem is particularly acute in light of the deterioration of the Palestinian social fabric due to geographical segregation, which has isolated women from informal networks that previously were able to provide them with some level of support. Additionally, organizations and programmes that used to reach out to these women have been severely impeded by the situation.

The project will work within an empowerment framework to address humanitarian needs of women in rural and refugee populations. Using a bottom-up approach, women will be encouraged to organize themselves into groups within their community to counteract the compounded effects of isolation they experience. This support system, at the community level, will allow women to continuously assess their needs and priorities. In tandem with this mobilization process, the project will facilitate women’s access to services, information and resources related to these needs and priorities while at the same time, working with service providers to improve the quality and accessibility of services, information and resources in the target area. The project will focus on counselling activities, but by so doing; will address the interlinked nature of economic security and education in relation to women’s mental and physical health. Activities
  • FINANCIAL SUMMARY
    Budget Items
    US$
    Counseling Services
    35,000
    Information and training packages
    40,000
    Training and workshops
    65,000
    Database
    5,000
    Refurbishment and equipment for women’s centers
    20,000
    Total
    165,000




    ANNEX II.
    Table I. Summary of Requirements and Contributions
    By Appealing Organisation and By Sector









    Notes

    1 Fact Sheet on socio-economic and humanitarian situation submitted to Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, Rome, 10 December 2003
    2The World Bank is currently conducting research into poverty levels throughout the oPt, which will be published in mid-2004.
    3 See for example, section on food security below. On the basis of 2002 malnutrition figures, FAO and WFP indicated that food insecurity in the West Bank “has not persisted long enough to visibly start affecting malnutrition rates. Food insecurity could, over time however, lead to increased malnutrition levels.” Food Security Assessment West Bank and Gaza Strip, FAO-WFP, Rome, 2004, p.70
    4 Coping strategies of WFP beneficiaries in the oPt, WFP, February 2004
    5 For details of OCHA closure mapping, see section on Maps at http://www.ochaopt.org
    6 Between May and October 2003, the number of people affected by curfew each day in the oPt averaged 177,787. The equivalent figure for the period November 2003-March2004 was 35,531.
    7 See Barrier Update compiled by OCHA oPt, available at http://www.ochaopt.org
    8 Food Security Assessment West Bank and Gaza Strip, FAO-WFP, Rome, 2004, p.39
    9 According to a recent IUED public perception poll, the 78.1% of the population directly affected by the ‘closed area’ stated the Barrier prevents job access; 76.9% stated it separates them from relatives and 74% stated great increase in the price of inputs and transportation costs. More than 60% reported difficulties in marketing agricultural produce and that it is difficult or impossible to cultivate the land.
    10 For further information, see health sector below.
    11 Another access point exists in the south, allowing movement of people and commercial goods between Rafah and Egypt. The Israeli authorities control this access point.
    12 See Johns Hopkins/Al Quds Nutritional Assessment 2003, and Coping strategies of WFP beneficiaries in the oPt, WFP, February 2004.
    13 See, for example, Coping strategies of WFP beneficiaries in the oPt, WFP, February 2004
    14 This sectoral allocation of funds has been proposed at field level, and not yet confirmed to the FTS by appealing agency headquarters.
    15 Survey on Palestinian public perceptions on their living conditions. A household survey conducted in the oPt by the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva (IUED). The data collection was carried out during March 2004 on 1499 sampled households. The World Health Organization (WHO) contributed to the survey questionnaire on the health sector.
    16 The impact of the Israeli Separation Wall on access to health care services is a detailed study of how health service provision in the West Bank has been affected by the first phase of the construction of the Barrier. It provides preliminary projections on the subsequent phases of Barrier construction. The study was conducted by the Health Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), and was published in 2004.
    17 This is the existence of effective antibodies against measles as consequence of vaccination.
    18 See annex on new UNICEF immunization project for further details.
    19 Coping strategies of WFP beneficiaries in the oPt, WFP, February 2004
    20 Food Security Assessment West Bank and Gaza Strip, FAO-WFP, Rome, 2004, p.28
    21 WFP delivered 24,501 tones of food aid to 478,000 beneficiaries between January and April 2004, which constitutes approximately 90 per cent of WFP’s planned disbursal of assistance.
    22 Due to the increase of the prices of some commodities, the cost of a round distribution is now US$ 5.3 million which represent an additional financial burden for UNRWA (increase of 18% in the cost of a food distribution round).
    23 World Bank figures.
    24 PCBS figures for the first quarter of 2004, available at: http://www.pcbs.org/english/press_r/lbrQ104_e.pdf
    25 Preliminary findings of interagency report on humanitarian needs in Rafah, May 2004.



    OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
    (OCHA)
    NEW YORK OFFICE
    GENEVA OFFICE
    UNITED NATIONS
    PALAIS DES NATIONS
    NEW YORK, N.Y. 10017
    1211 GENEVA 10
    Telefax: (1 212) 963.3630
    USA
    SWITZERLAND
    TELEFAX: (41 22) 917.0368


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