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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
15 August 2014




This report is produced by OCHA oPt in collaboration with humanitarian partners. This report covers the period from 14 August (08:00 hrs) to 15 August (08:00 hrs).

Note: There will be no situation reports on 16 or 17 August. The next report will be issued on 18 August.

Highlights











Situation Overview

The ceasefire, extended until midnight, 18 August, is holding with no violations reported. However, in the absence of a permanent agreement, the situation in Gaza remains insecure, and the number of displaced fluctuates as families discover that their homes are uninhabitable or lack even the basic amounts of water, electricity, and food available in emergency shelters. 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. Another 5,635 housing units have suffered major damage but are still inhabitable in part, while 33,625 have suffered minor damage.

Others are returning because they wish to secure their places in shelters should hostilities resume or because of general insecurity. Wednesday's incident in which six people were killed by unexploded ordnance (UXO) underlines the threat which the thousands of explosive remnants of war (ERW) dispersed throughout civilian areas pose to children, farmers, humanitarian workers and IDPs returning home.

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.

Hostilities and casualties

Since the last update, the Protection Cluster has recorded a further two fatalities; a 90-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man, who died from injuries sustained earlier. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians since 7 July to at least 1,975, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 328 persons who could not be yet identified or their status established. Of the initially verified cases, 1,417 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 239 women, and 230 members of armed groups. The UXO fatalities recorded on Wednesday have not yet been included in the cumulative figures. According to the World Health Organization, as of 17:00 on 12 August, 10,193 Palestinians, including 3,084 children, 1,970 women and 368 elderly, have been injured.

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.

Displacement

The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in emergency shelters continues to fluctuate, and increased by at least 16,000 during the reporting period. As of yesterday afternoon, there were 218,367 hosted in 87 designated UNRWA schools, (up from 209,459 registered the previous day) and 20,888 in seven government shelters supported by UNRWA (up from 15,400 previously). The number of IDPs residing in government schools not assisted by UNRWA is unknown. Nearly 115,000 IDPs residing with host families have been registered and reached by various shelter partners.

Infrastructure and services

A total of 230 schools (90 UNRWA and 140 government-run) have sustained some degree of damage, including 25 schools entirely destroyed or severely damaged since the current crisis began. UNRWA is devising a strategy regarding the new school year, in coordination with the Ministry of Education. If a permanent ceasefire is reached, it is expected it will take the Agency between two to three weeks to open its schools to some 235,000 children.

For service providers, a permanent or continued ceasefire is required to continue repairing water and wastewater networks and facilities. Many of the repairs in the worst affected areas need to be urgently addressed as families return to their homes. Over 50 per cent of water networks are estimated to be damaged in areas which experienced intense conflict, such as Beit Hanoun. As repairs are made and further destruction is discovered in these areas, the re-supply of spare and replacement parts will be necessary. In other heavily impacted areas such as Khuza'a, the demand for water is so high that tensions are developing around distribution areas when deliveries are attempted. Tanker drivers have been unable to deliver in eastern Khan Yunis and particularly Khuza'a, for these reasons; the WASH Cluster and partners are working closely with local representatives to address this problem.

Food Update

The crisis has worsened an already extremely fragile environment in terms of food security and livelihoods. Around 66 per cent of the population of Gaza was receiving food assistance prior to this crisis and the household food insecurity level or vulnerable to food insecure stood at 72 per cent of households. The entire population of Gaza has been affected by the conflict and almost all need food and other assistance to recover, particularly the IDPs who will be homeless, due to the destruction of their homes. An exceptional one-off food distribution by UNRWA, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), targeting families who do not regularly receive food assistance, is continuing with 150,000 out of a targeted 730,000 people now reached.

The poultry sector has been particularly affected, with half of Gaza's poultry (broilers and layers) killed as a result of direct damage or because of restrictions on tending and feeding them., with the price of eggs rising by 40 per cent, Around 55,000 livestock head are in need of animal feed and water tanks in order to avoid further loss of livestock and additional erosion of productive assets.

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: the first phase initial rapid needs assessment was launched on Wednesday to inform responses by humanitarian organizations. The second phase will start on Monday if the ceasefire holds.

Additional fuel supply: fuel is 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.

Erez: Open 08:00-14:00 for urgent cases only.
Belt Hanoun (Arba-Arba): Operational.
Kerem Shalom: Open yesterday until 16:30. A total of 283 truck loads, mostly food (166) entered. It is normally closed on Friday but opened today because of high demand. The Government of Israel reports that on 13 August, 198 tons of gas, 244,000 litres of benzene and 353,000 litres of fuel for transportation were imported into Gaza through Israeli crossings
Rafah: No goods entered on 14 August.

Humanitarian needs and response

Protection

Needs


Response
Gaps and Constraints
Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

Needs


Response
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Needs


Response
Gaps
Health and Nutrition

Needs


Food Security

Needs


Response
Education

Needs


Response
Gaps & Constraints
Logistics

Needs


Response
Gaps and Constraints
General Coordination

The first phase of the joint rapid needs assessment, led by the EOC started on 13 August, and data analysis in ongoing. Preparations for the second phase at municipality level are ongoing and, if the situation allows the second phase will start on Monday 18 August. Preparations include 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 at the municipality and refugee camp level starting on Monday, aims to cover 19 of the 25 municipalities and eight refugee camps on the first day. 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.

Since its activation, the Logistics Cluster has facilitated the transportation of over 1,200 pallets of humanitarian relief supplies via 47 trucks from the West Bank on behalf of 17 humanitarian organisations for distribution within the Gaza Strip.

Funding

Based on available information, funding to the Gaza Crisis Appeal stands at US $115 million, of this US $96 million is for UNRWA, US $16.5 million for WFP and US $2 1 million (reported) for others which are mainly for Food, leaving large gaps to respond in other critical sectors such as Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Education and Shelter and Non Food Items. Many key UN and NGOs partners identified for the Gaza response have received little to no funding to date for their projects in the Crisis Appeal. 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, eleven project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 2.6 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.

Background to the crisis

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:

Ms. Katleen Maes, Head of the humanitarian Emergency Operations Center in Gaza, maes@un.org, +972 592 911 047
Mr. Ray Dolphin,
Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, dolphin@un.org, +972 54 331 1827

For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms.Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, abusaleh@un.org, +972 (0) 54 3311816

For more information, please visit www.ochaopt.org

Endnote
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.


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