The 72-hour ceasefire, which entered into effect at midnight on Sunday, has held with no major incidents recorded during the reporting period. The ceasefire is scheduled to expire at midnight tonight, amidst ongoing negotiations in Cairo between the parties to reach a permanent ceasefire. There has been a further slight decline in IDPs seeking refuge in emergency shelters but numbers are expected to rise as the ceasefire deadline nears, and no agreement is reached. Despite ongoing repairs to utilities, the majority of the population continues to cope with severe shortages in water and power services. Today's casualties from unexploded ordnance (UXO) underline the threat which explosive remnants of war pose to the population as well as to humanitarian workers.
Hostilities and casualties
Since the last update, the Protection Cluster has recorded a further three fatalities; two males whose bodies were recovered from Khuza'a and another male who died of injuries sustained earlier. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians since 7 July to at least 1,965, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 322 persons who could not be yet identified or their status established. Of the initially verified cases, 1,417 are believed to be civilians, including 458 children and 238 women, and 226 members of armed groups. The number of child fatalities exceeds the combined number of children killed in the two previous conflicts in Gaza, 350 in 2008-9 and 35 in 2012.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 17:00 on 10 August, 9,986 Palestinians, including 3,009 children and 359 elderly, have been injured.
There were no reports of firing by Palestinian factions into Israel during the reporting period. Since 8 July, three civilians in Israel have been killed, including one foreign national, and dozens directly injured by rockets or shrapnel. The total number of Israeli military fatalities stands at 64.
The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in emergency shelters has declined with the continuation of the ceasefire. As of yesterday afternoon, there were 223,092 hosted in 87 designated UNRWA schools and 29,505 in 27 government shelters, including seven supported by UNRWA. Nearly 115,000 IDPs residing with host families have been registered and reached by various shelter partners.
UNRWA's hygiene and water campaign for shelters was launched on 10 August, involving the dissemination of information on water conservation, appropriate hygiene practices and treatment of scabies and lice. UNRWA has also continued to provide food, water and non food items to IDPs sheltered in its schools and, with other agencies, to the IDPs taking shelter in government schools.
UNRWA has started to distribute maternity packages to mothers who have given birth during the current hostilities, and who are registered as IDPs in its shelters across the Gaza Strip. A total of 344 babies, 152 girls and 192 boys, have been born in UNRWA schools designated as shelters. The maternity packages contain essential items to help mothers care for their newborns during displacement. An estimated 10,000 of the 46,000 pregnant women in Gaza are displaced.
Damage to houses and schools
Following a series of assessments by the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works (MHPW), it is estimated that 8,832 housing units have been totally destroyed, requiring reconstruction, and 7,960 have been severely damaged and are uninhabitable until major repairs can take place. This is over 160 per cent higher than the equivalent figure, approximately 6,400, recorded during the "Cast Lead" military operation in Gaza in 2008/9. Another 5,635 housing units have suffered major damage but are still inhabitable in part, while 33,625 have suffered minor damage.
According to the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEffE), a total of 230 schools (90 UNRWA and 140 government) have sustained some degree of damage, including 25 schools entirely destroyed or severely damaged. These facilities will not be usable in time for the new school year, which will not start on 24 August as scheduled. Two universities and four collages have also been damaged by shelling.
Facilities and services
Service providers continue to repair water and sanitation networks and WASH facilities. The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) remains inoperable following an Israeli airstrike and damage to electricity feeder and grid lines has resulted in a lack of electricity to operate pumps and wells, sewage pumping stations, waste water treatment plants and desalination plants. These are being replaced by generators, which need fuel. The estimated additional amount required equalling the loss of electricity is around 500,000 litres of fuel per month which the WASH Cluster is requesting to be dispatched at weekly intervals of 125,000 litres.
There has been a steep increase in the price of certain food commodities, eggs have risen more than 40 per cent, while other items have returned close to pre-conflict prices. It is estimated that half of Gaza's poultry (broilers and layers) were killed as a result of direct damage to shelters or because of access restrictions.
An exceptional one-off food distribution by UNRWA, the World Food Program (WFP) and the MoSA, targeting families who do not regularly receive food assistance, continued yesterday, with some centres extending distributions times by one hour to accommodate demand. The campaign, which is scheduled to last for two weeks, will complement the regular food assistance provided by UNRWA and WFP to core beneficiaries.
Key humanitarian priorities
Humanitarian space: access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities should be maintained, among other reasons, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and repair critical water and electricity infrastructure. Removal of the threat of numerous UXO in built up areas is vital.
Joint needs assessments: First phase was launched today to inform responses by humanitarian organizations. Continuation is dependent on an extension of the ceasefire.
Additional fuel supply: needed to operate backup generators at essential facilities, including water, sanitation and health, for longer hours.
Strengthen response to IDPs: improving priority response to IDPs in non-UNRWA facilities and with host families; ensuring common standards of response to IDPs throughout the Gaza strip, including comprehensive and common registration.
Humanitarian needs and response
The joint rapid needs assessment, led by the EOC in Gaza, started today, 13 August, following preparations in the past days, including liaison with relevant government counterparts, the allocation of cluster representatives to various teams, and the conduct of relevant trainings. Various technical authorities have committed their support. The assessment will take place in two phases: an overview at the governorate level, on the first day, followed by an assessment at the municipality and refugee camp level for a period of three to four days, as soon as the situation allows. Data collected will be entered on tablets and linked directly to a database. The information will be subsequently validated and analysed, before it is disseminated. Protection and gender concerns have been integrated throughout the process as have questions on the information needs of affected communities.
Mr. Shawqi Issa, Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Agriculture of the State of Palestine along with the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. James W. Rawley launched the 2014 Gaza Crisis Appeal which outlines the planned humanitarian response of the HCT, including UNRWA to the current emergency. The appeal is intended to address urgent needs in Gaza and currently requests US$ 367 million to implement 86 projects in clusters/sectors including Education, Food Security, Health and Nutrition, Protection, Shelter and WASH as well as Coordination and Support Services. The clusters/sectors requesting the largest amount of funds are Food Security and Shelter which are requesting a total of US$ 293 million together. The appeal is based on the latest analysis of the required emergency assistance to meet the most critical needs of the affected population and will be revised as further information from the ground becomes available and needs assessments become possible. The Crisis Appeal supersedes the estimates presented in the Gaza Crisis Preliminary Needs and Requirements paper of 24 July. The Crisis Appeal is available online at www.ochaopt.org.
The Emergency Response Fund (ERF) is an additional mechanism available to fund interventions in Gaza through rapid and flexible support to affected civilian populations. The ERF has begun processing project applications in regards to the Gaza emergency. To date, ten project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 2.3 million Further funding for the ERF is still being sought.
UN humanitarian agencies, in cooperation with NGO partners are in the process of fmalizing an application to the CERF Rapid Response window covering urgent needs in food assistance, psychosocial support, WASH, rubble removal and critical drugs.
On 7 July 2014, the Israeli army launched a large military operation in the Gaza Strip, codenamed "Protective Edge", with the stated objective of stopping Palestinian rocket firing at southern Israel and destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas and other armed groups.
This development marked the collapse of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire understanding reached between Israel and Hamas in November 2012, which has been gradually undermined since December 2013. The latest escalation round started in early June, characterized by an intensification of Israeli airstrikes and rockets launched from Gaza at southern Israel. Tensions further increased following the abduction and killing of three Israeli youths in the southern West Bank, on 12 June, which the Israeli government attributed to Hamas. Overall, in the period leading up to the start of the current operation a total of 15 Palestinians, including one civilian, were killed, and another 58 others, mostly civilians, injured, as a result of Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip; seven Israelis, five of whom were civilians, were injured due to rocket fire.
The current crisis comes against a backdrop of heightened vulnerability and instability. Unemployment increased dramatically since mid-2013, following a halt of the illegal tunnel trade, exacerbating the impact of the Israeli blockade in place since June 2007. Additionally, former de facto government employees, including the security forces, have not been paid salaries regularly since August 2013 and no salaries at all since April 2014. Delivery of basic services has been also undermined due to an ongoing energy crisis, involving power outages of 12 hours per day.
For further information, please contact:
Katleen Maes, Head of the humanitarian Emergency Operations Center in Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 592 911 047
Ray Dolphin, Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, email@example.com, +972 54 331 1827
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 (0) 54 3311816 For more information, please visit www.ochaopt.org
1Data on fatalities and destruction of property is consolidated by the Protection and Shelter clusters based on preliminary information, and is subject to change based on further verifications.