Since April 2017, Gaza has experienced power shortages, and the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shut down completely after exhausting its fuel reserves causing an energy crisis. This has had a direct impact on the delivery of services, including health, water, sanitation, and education.
UNICEF strengthened the emergency preparedness through establishing two Designated Emergency Shelters (DES) in four targeted schools in Gaza constructing needed WASH facilities in coordination with the MoEHE. The WASH facilities are gender sensitive and address the needs of women and girls in terms of suitability, infrastructure and security.
UNICEF continued to provide emergency health care supplies, including neonatal lifesaving equipment to the Ministry of Health and its partner NECC, in Gaza. Since January, a total of 1552 children were provided with life-saving neonatal services.
Child Protection issues continue to be of concern, as a total of 1,022 incidents of grave violations against children were monitored and documented in the first quarter of 2017, affecting 12,945 children in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. This represents an increase in the number of affected children compared with the last quarter of 2016 when 1,305 incidents were documented, affecting 10,831 children.
The situation in oPt remains volatile. In East Jerusalem, arrests and detentions of children remain high with 182 documented cases in the second quarter of 2017 compared with 136 children arrested in the first quarter. Since January, UNICEF supported 83 percent of arrested and detained children in East Jerusalem with legal counselling services through local partners.
Children in Area C, in particular H2, face severe protection challenges. Since January, UNICEF through its partners the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine (EAPPI) and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), ensured that a total 8,537 (8123 children and 414 teachers) benefitted from the provision of protective presence (i.e. international volunteers accompanying children to-and-from school due to harassment and violence at checkpoints and when crossing settlements).
A primary challenge in the oPt in 2017 has been the funding situation, negatively affecting the implementation of activities. Progress towards the cluster objectives has also been limited due to a lack of funds for humanitarian purposes.
# of people affected
(UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2017)
# of Children targeted out of
# of people targeted
(Source: UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2017)
*funds available includes funding received for the current
appeal year as well as the carry-forward from the previous year.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The main drivers of humanitarian action in the State of Palestine (SoP) are directly linked to the impact of the confrontations between civilians and security forces, and the deteriorating humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip. The three major escalations of hostilities in Gaza over the past six years have amplified deprivations and exacerbated the vulnerability of the 1.8 million Palestinians living in the Strip. The current electricity crisis has undermined already precarious living conditions over the past decade severely impacting the daily lives of people, in particular the health and WASH sectors. It has a significant impact on the quality of health care delivered in Gaza and postponement of many elective surgeries, compounded with the protracted shortages of essential drugs and required medical disposables. At the writing of this report, the population of Gaza is receiving water for between 0-4 maximum hours of electricity per day. The over-extraction of water from the underlying coastal aquifer has resulted in the intrusion of seawater, hence 96.2 per cent of the groundwater in Gaza is unfit for human consumption — up from 90 per cent in 2012.The deterioration of the economy, combined with the degradation of basic infrastructure and services and recurrent conflicts have left most of Gaza's two million inhabitants extremely vulnerable.
In the West Bank, humanitarian concerns include the separation wall, the condition of children in detention; communities at risk of evictions/forced transfers; and the many restrictions on building and access to services experienced by Palestinian communities in Area C. Children are exposed to high levels of harassment and violence both as a result of clashes and contact with Israeli Security Forces (ISF) and settler violence. Child arrests and detention frequently occur in East Jerusalem. High levels of demolitions severely impact livelihoods. During January 2017, OCHA recorded the demolition of 140 structures by the Israeli authorities, displacing around 240 Palestinians and affecting another 4,000. The number of structures demolished during the first month of the year was over 50 per cent higher than the monthly average of structures targeted in 2016 (91). Access to Education has been hampered by the restrictive planning regime applied in Area C, as over a third of the residential areas in Area C (189 out of 532) lack a primary school and children are forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, to reach the nearest school. Some children, including those in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), must cross a military checkpoint and/or are exposed to harassment on their way to/from school.
According to the 2017 Humanitarian Dashboard the humanitarian requirements total US$ 547million, of which only 30 per cent has been met.
Humanitarian leadership and coordination
UNICEF, as part of the UN Country Team, coordinates with the Palestinian Government to support its role in humanitarian response, early recovery and reconstruction. UNICEF leads the WASH cluster in close cooperation with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA), and co-leads the Education Cluster with Save the Children in Gaza. At the national level, the Education Cluster has transitioned to a Sector Working Group on Education in Emergencies, co-chaired by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) and UNICEF, responsible for coordinating emergency response. UNICEF is also leading Cluster transitioning at national level in WASH, through capacity building towards increased Government ownership, with the PWA playing an increasingly important role.
UNICEF also leads the Child Protection Working Group and affiliated groups on Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), and on Monitoring and Reporting of Grave Violations against children. UNICEF co-leads the Nutrition Working Group under the Health Cluster in Gaza and at the national level, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and WHO.
UNICEF promotes 'resilient development', in ways that is responsive to children and families' needs to be better prepared for and manage crises, and recover from them more rapidly. This requires addressing the underlying drivers of inequity and fragility that cause grave violations, social deprivation and stresses. It also entails bridging the arbitrary divide between development and humanitarian assistance, integrating risk factors into programming, and strengthening systems that can anticipate and absorb shocks in the event of conflict, violence or disasters.
In Palestine, UNICEF ensures complementarity with national efforts in the most vulnerable communities. UNICEF provides technical expertise and support in strengthening child protection systems and services, including case management and referrals. It monitors and reports on grave violations against children, thus informs evidence-based advocacy for improved protection of children, as well as programming. Children crossing checkpoints in the West Bank are protected to ensure safer access to schools. Children affected by conflict benefit from education supplies and remedial learning. Adolescents engage in learning and recreational programmes, to become agents of positive change in communities. UNICEF also supports the rehabilitation of water and sewage systems in affected communities in Gaza and the West Bank. In addition, UNICEF promotes early childhood development, with a focus on children with developmental delays and disabilities, and supports the provision of essential and lifesaving paediatric medicines and medical consumables, including micronutrient supplementation and infant and young child feeding.
Summary Analysis of Programme response
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
In Gaza, UNICEF with its partner Gruppo Voluntariato Civile (GVC), is working to improve basic WASH conditions for 400 households. A needs assessment was carried out through field surveys, beneficiaries' selection, sanitation facilities needs' identification, and focus groups sessions in six localities across Gaza.
Since January a total of 14,607 people benefitted from improved access to water, through water network repairs, distribution of subsidized drinking water, the rehabilitation of the main transmission pipeline in the Hebron directorate as well as providing hygiene voucher distribution for families in flood prone areas of Gaza. The latter was conducted in cooperation with WFP.
UNICEF in cooperation with the Coastal Municipal Water Utility (CMWU) has ensured WASH preparedness and response to winter floods including the mitigation of flood risk for 30,000 people through the rehabilitation of storm water networks and separation from sewage networks in three areas of Qezaan El Najaar, Al Salam, and Abu El Reesh neighborhoods in the center of the Khan Younis Governorate.
days of the week. The fuel to operate the plant was facilitated by UNRWA through the Humanitarian Pol Fund.
Among the many challenges faced in the WASH sector, the most significant has been to obtain approval from the Israeli Coordination Authorities for the entry of material and tools to repair three mobile pumps in flood prone areas.
UNICEF and its implementing partners supported 6188 (3,035 female and 3,153 male) to benefit from structured child protection interventions, including life skills programs. These included individual counselling, group counselling, life skills, child/parent interaction program and other psychosocial support group activities. A total of 232 children, women and men received information on their rights and access legal services.
Child protection counsellors received trainings and mentoring on the case management of children in need of protection. Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) risk education sessions were delivered to 3,690 children and caregivers through family centers (2,429 females and 1,261 males).
In partnership with UNICEF, Terre des Hommes Lausanne (TdH) developed a web-based Child Protection Information Management System (IMS) aligned to the SOPs for case management of child protection and gender based violence.
UNICEF developed leaflets for children in contact with the law in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and disseminated over 5,000 copies to its Child protection partners during the second quarter. The leaflets are designed for children, families and service providers to be aware of the legal rights of children when arrested and detained by security forces.
Education and Adolescents
UNICEF provided technical support to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) in developing the first ever national contingency plan for the education sector, covering both the West Bank and Gaza. During the reporting period, the contingency planning areas where children and teachers are exposed to risks.
In Gaza, the recent electricity crisis hampered the administering, by the MoEHE, of the Tawjihi exams. With the support of the Education Cluster and advocacy support from UNICEF it secured 10,000L of fuel from the humanitarian emergency fuel supply. This enabled the Tawjihi to proceed, which is critical in deciding the future choices and options of Palestinian youth.
The primary challenge in 2017 has been the funding gap, which can negatively affect the implementation of planned activities, such as material support to the most vulnerable children, life-skills trainings for adolescent girls and boys, and their community-based initiatives. Progress towards the cluster objectives has been limited due to a lack of funds for the humanitarian education response. More specifically, only 14.8 per cent of the total education sector HRP ask has been received.
Child Health & Nutrition
Since January, UNICEF in coordination with its partners supported 30,300 children and women to benefit from emergency health care services / supplies.
A total of 8,197 beneficiaries, including 75 men, attended 234 awareness raising sessions on child development, breastfeeding promotion and complementary feeding in primary health facilities in Gaza.
Restrictions of movement in Area C, and lack of essential health care services, forced MoH and UNICEF to support outreach services to ensure provision of service to marginalised communities in Area C. Accordingly, two mobile clinics were procured to serve the most vulnerable communities in South West Bank, with a total of 5,000 children and caregivers expected to benefit from the health services. A third mobile clinic, which is being designed and constructed for Tubas in Northern West Bank, is expected to serve an additional 5,000 children and their caregivers.
In support to the MoH, UNICEF and its partners completed two basic life support training (BLS) for nurses and doctors. UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) and UNRWA, organized a community mobilization workshop to develop an action plan for a child friendly community initiative. 11 billboards were distributed all-over Gaza districts to announce the hotline for post-natal health services and early childhood development services.
In Gaza, the blockade and introduction of the dual use1 list continue to be a major constraint and causes delays in the reconstruction of the Neonatal Intensive care units. Another major challenge in addressing the Health and Nutrition humanitarian needs is the decreasing funding of the Health sector.
Communications for Development (C4D)
Since January, UNICEF, in partnership with the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility finalized the implementation of a campaign supporting the launch of the EU-funded, USD $10 million seawater desalination plant in the Gaza Strip. Social workers who had been specifically trained visited beneficiaries at home. UNICEF also developed an implementation plan of the cross-sectoral behaviour and attitude change strategy, articulated around two priorities — violence against children and early childhood development (ECD). Furthermore, consultations were led with programme sections and partners to refine priorities, in particular to kick-start work on the "in and out of school violence" project aiming at curbing down corporal punishment and bullying and promoting the use of positive discipline, and on boosting the use of C4D techniques in the ECD national strategy.\
Media and External Communication
Advocacy initiatives during the first half year focused on access to safe drinking water, which included the opening of the USD $10 million seawater desalination, the launch of 'Gaza Young Reporters' webpage (https://www.facebook.com/GazaYoungReporters/), and on the implementation of the advocacy strategy for the Gaza Strip. The latter focused on the situation of children in relation to poverty, lack of protection, lack of access to WASH, and the impact of the electricity crisis. A briefing kit was produced, along with five videos, photos sets, human interest stories and social media posts (#Gaza4children). Several briefings were organized for diplomatic missions. The 'Gaza Young Reporters' Facebook page featured advocacy content produced by/with 110 students enrolled in 11 UNICEF social media clubs, who were trained in photography in Gaza.
Supply and Logistics
As part of the emergency preparedness, UNICEF solicited the procurement and prepositioning of emergency supplies for Health and Nutrition interventions. The donation approvals for importation of these drugs is still pending with the Israeli authorities. Six water tankering trucks for humanitarian assistance were also delivered. The trucks were handed over to the appropriate WASH implementing partners in the first quarter of this year. Additionally, the supply and logistics unit emergency preparedness plan was updated in this reporting period. In addition, the State of Palestine office participated in a recent emergency preparedness and response training held in Copenhagen and was tasked to develop a Supply and Logistics strategy document for the CO. The first draft was shared with Supply Division for review.
*Funds available includes funding received for the current appeal year as well as the carry-forward from the previous year.
UNICEF State of Palestine: http://www.unicef.org/oPt/
UNICEF State of Palestine on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unicefstateofpalestine
UNICEF State of Palestine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNICEFpalestine
UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: http://www.unicef.org/appeals/state of palestine.html
UNICEF State of Palestine
Deputy Special Representative
Email: adufay(@un icef.orci
Reporting and Monitoring Specialist
UNICEF State of Palestine Tel: +972 (0)2 584 0448
1 Dual-use list materials: materials listed by the Israelis as restricted for entrance into Gaza claiming that these can be used for military purposes.