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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 May 2005


HUMANITARIAN UPDATE - MAY 2005


I. Special Focus: New analysis of the impact of aid and credit on vulnerable groups
II. Humanitarian Reports - PCBS: Main Findings of the Palestinian household Expenditure and Consumption Survey 2004; PCBS: Survey on the perception of Owners/Managers of Industrial Establishments; ILO: The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories; Amnesty International: Annual Report.
III. Humanitarian Assistance to the oPt - US announces US $20 million donation to UNRWA’s emergency appeal; USAID adds US $7 million to oPt education programme; New US funds for microfinance project; Commission provides €28.3 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinians; Japan pledges to bankroll the Gaza Strip withdrawal with US $100 million; USAID launches ‘Pocket Park’ initiative.
IV. Humanitarian monitoring issues - Casualties; Access; Curfews; Demolitions; Land Levelling

I. Special Focus: New analysis of the impact of aid and credit on vulnerable groups
A new assessment by the World Food Programme (WFP)1 provides important new information on the way food aid impacts Palestinian households.







II. New humanitarian reports:

1. PCBS: Main Findings of the Palestinian household Expenditure and Consumption
Survey 2004

In 2004, household monthly expenditure decreased by 2.2% compared with 1998, while household expenditure on food decreased by 12.3%, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS). If the price increase is taken into account during the same period (20.5%), general expenditure decreased by 27%, while food expenditure decreased by 28%. Results indicated that food share of total expenditure is 36.0%: 35.5% in the West Bank and 37.0% in the Gaza Strip.
For more information, please see: [http:www.pcbs.org]

2. PCBS: Survey on the perception of Owners/Managers of Industrial Establishments
Owners and managers in the Gaza Strip appear to be more optimistic than those in the West Bank. According to PCBS survey, 62.8% of the owners/mangers in Gaza Strip expect an improvement in their situation compared with 59.8% in the West Bank.
For more information, please see: [http:www.pcbs.org]

3. ILO: The situation of workers of the occupied Arab territories
An International Labour Organization (ILO) report highlighted the rapidly growing youth population with over 46% of the total population 14 years old or younger. Almost one-third of 15 to 24 year-olds and over half of 25 to 29 year-olds are neither employed nor studying. ILO reiterated its position that “the removal of restrictions is a necessary condition for the application of fundamental principles and rights at work as well as to unlock the productive potential in the occupied territories”. For more information, please see: [http:// www.ilo.org]

Amnesty International: Annual Report
The Amnesty International Annual Report for 2004 states that Israeli forces killed some 700 Palestinians - including 150 children - mostly in unlawful circumstances. It condemns the killing by Palestinian armed groups of 109 Israelis — 67 of them civilians, including eight children — in suicide bombings, shootings and mortar attacks. The organisation condemned the Israeli army’s use of unlawful killings, torture, destruction of property, obstruction of medical assistance and the use of Palestinians as "human shields" during military operations in spite of an injunction by Israel's high court banning the practice. For more information, please see: [http://www.amnesty.org]

III. Humanitarian assistance to the oPt:

1. US announces $20 million donation to UNRWA’s emergency appeal
On 19 May, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) marked a new stage in its relations with the United States at a two-day meeting with major donors and host authorities in Jordan. At the meeting, the US representative announced a donation of US $20 million to UNRWA's Emergency Appeal for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to support food aid programmes.

UNRWA launched its US $185.8 million appeal in December 2004, the eighth since the start of the conflict in September 2000. Funding for the 2005 appeal now stands at US $80 million. This latest pledge brings the US's contribution to UNRWA's Emergency Appeals to US $172.3 million since September 2000. The US, UNRWA's largest donor, has also contributed US $88.8 million to UNRWA's regular activities during 2005.
For more information, please see: [http:// www.unrwa.org]

2. USAID adds US $7 million to its oPt education programme
On 16 May, the US donated US $7 million to enlarge US-funded higher education and training programmes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The education projects are part of a US $41 million quick-impact initiative launched by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education. For more information, please see: [http:// www.usaid.gov/]

3. New US funds for micro-finance project
On 18 May, the US government injected an additional $4.95 million into an emergency programme designed to assist an estimated 20,000 Palestinian women working in microenterprise activities. It is designed to help Palestinian women who cannot qualify for bank loans. The micro-finance project is implemented by Palestine for Credit and Development (FATEN), an independent Palestinian non-profit corporation, in coordination with the Save the Children Federation. The new funds will increase FATEN's monthly loan disbursement capacity by 43% (from $560,000 to nearly $800,000). Initially, the project will be able to disburse loans to 500 women entrepreneurs, and then be extended to a further 9,500. For more information, please see: [http:// www.usaid.gov/]

4. Commission provides €28.3 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable Palestinians
On 10 May, the European Commission allocated €28.3 million in humanitarian aid for one million Palestinians in the oPt and Lebanon. The aid package includes food aid, water and sanitation facilities, mobile clinics, psychosocial emergency assistance, job creation and support to small-scale businesses.

Louis Michel, commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, said: "Despite the improving political climate, most movement restrictions for people and goods remain in place. While it is crucial that humanitarian aid does not become a structural feature of the Palestinian economy, international donors must continue to help meet the urgent needs of the population."
For more information, please see: [http:// www.delwbg.cec.eu.int ]

5. Japan pledges to help finance the Gaza Strip withdrawal with US $100 million
Japan pledged US $100 million 16 May to support the Palestinians after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The promise came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made his first Asian tour since succeeding the late Yasser Arafat.

6. USAID launches ‘Pocket Park’ initiative
On 9 May, USAID announced its allocation of US $2 million (of the US $41 million earmarked) for the construction of 16 "pocket parks" in the West Bank and Gaza's densely populated cities. For more information, please see: [http:// www.usaid.gov/]


IV. Protection of Civilians – Monthly Update6






Notes


1 The survey was conducted in October/November 2004 with households receiving WFP assistance; another survey is planned to be conducted within a year.
2WFP data show that 20% of chronic poor in the oPt relied on work as main income source compared with 70% of new poor.
3According to the World Bank, ‘food poverty’ is understood as expenditure of under NIS 128 per person per month on food. This amounts to expenditure of under one dollar per person per day on food.
5At the time when the survey was conducted, over two thirds of new poor interviewed were newly selected to receive aid but had not yet received it. This means that their reliance on credit was likely to be higher.
5Reliance on credit for the purchase of food is higher in the West Bank where 83% of the chronic poor and 90% of the new poor rely on credit to buy food. In the West Bank, 58% of the new poor and 45% of the chronic poor rely on credit to buy food half of the time or more.
6For more detailed information, please see OCHA’s Humanitarian Briefing Notes at http://www.ochaopt.org
7Period covered: 4-31 May 2005
8Destruction type: bulldozed or burned


___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
This update will be produced regularly by OCHA oPt to highlight the main events and trends of humanitarian developments in the territory. OCHA invites UN agencies, international organisations, NGOs and donors to submit contributions for future issues. An Arabic version will be made available on the OCHA website: [http://www.ochaopt.org/]



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