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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
11 August 2009


Occupied Palestinian Territory


Situation Update
In the first half of 2009, Gaza experienced over three weeks of military operations. Damage sustained to water networks and waste water systems initially left over 500,000 persons without safe drinking water and sanitation services near to collapse, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. The war had a severe impact on the psychosocial well-being, development, education and health status of children. Acute levels of stress and insecurity is evident in children and their caregivers. Devastation to the education infrastructure by the military operations resulted in unsustainable and greater overcrowding of classrooms. According to Government estimates in May, 28,000 people, out of which 14,000 are estimated to be children, are still in need of access to adequate water, hygiene and sanitation. An estimated 156 government schools were partially damaged; 8 kindergartens were severely damaged, and 54 were partially damaged1, affecting roughly 95,000 children. Children who left destroyed or damaged homes lost textbooks, notebooks, uniforms, clothes, and other learning materials which need to be replaced. It is estimated that over 71,000 people have been displaced.

In the West Bank, the humanitarian needs of those living in Areas C, Jordan Valley, Barrier and settlement adjacent areas, and East Jerusalem are increasing. Over 144 communities (220,000 people, of which half are estimated to be children) are without piped water, while 240,000 (10 per cent) of the West Bank population lives on less than the 30 litres per capita per day. Traditional water sources such as springs and wells have been depleted as a result of the drought and people no longer have access to water sources due to the closing of large areas for settlements and military zones. In Gaza, 80 per cent of the water is not safe for human consumption due to high salinity. Overall, access and restrictions of movement continue to cause severe hardship and isolation for families. This is compounded with loss of employment and livelihoods that have further deteriorated the ability for families to send their children to school, increased the level of under-nutrition and the ability to access health care, thereby affecting the well-being of children.

Key Results for Children
During 2009, the overall goal is to protect children and women from the impact of violence and poverty and any further deterioration in their well-being.

UNICEF’s health programme equipped thirteen neonatal units with essential newborn and basic obstetric equipment to provide quality care to 4,000 high risk newborns and 7,500 pregnant women. High Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) and Vitamin A campaign coverage (99.8 per cent) was achieved for 7-9 grade students during a one round integrated post Gaza conflict vaccination campaign. Nutritional support was provided to 15,000 preschoolers in 114 kindergartens to improve under-nutrition and eliminate micronutrient deficiencies. In addition, 900 severely acutely malnourished children were treated through community managed therapeutic feeding centres. Capacity strengthening of health workers on nutrition has also been carried out with 80 health wo rkers trained on appropriate breastfeeding practices.

UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme continues to strengthen and improve water and sanitation systems, especially in schools and health facilities. It has supported partners to construct water wells, rehabilitate water networks, and install desalination plants; provide safe drinking water to marginalized communities, improve the treatment and quality of water; promote awareness on hygiene, strengthen local capacity in monitoring water quality. In Gaza, 89,800 people (of which 6,600 babies) benefited from hygiene kits, water kits and water testing kits; 60,000 of these were displaced people who were also supplied with water. Funds were provided for emergency repairs of sewage pump stations and water facilities serving around 175,000 in Gaza. UNICEF is coordinating the water scarcity plan in the West Bank.

UNICEF’s Education programme distributed 50 Early Childhood Development (ECD) kits to kindergartens in the West Bank and an additional 156 to kindergartens in the Gaza Strip. 2,200 math and science kits were distributed in the West Bank and Gaza benefiting 704,000 students. 50 math and 50 science kits were given to UNRWA for their distribution to the students in need.

UNICEF’s Child Protection programme coordinated Mine Risk Education activities in Gaza, broadcasting MRE messages on radio and television. In addition, 58,000 children in oPt received a range of psychosocial support services and 18,684 caregivers were assisted in supporting children with psychosocial concerns.

UNICEF is supporting 73 Adolescent Friendly Learning Spaces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In total, 10,417 adolescents in the West Bank and 7,856 adolescents in the Gaza Strip have participated in remedial and recreational activities implemented at these centres.

Key Challenges
UNICEF programme efforts are hindered by access and restrictions of movement on supplies, equipment and personnel, particularly in the Gaza Strip where the blockade continues. Restrictions on essential WASH materials and equipment into Gaza have delayed the resumption of essential services and hinder the efficiency of water and wastewater facilities. Education delivery is compromised as the Israeli authorities do not consider education supplies as humanitarian items. Supplies for psychosocial and adolescent activities have not been getting into Gaza in sufficient quantities, all of which have an impact on planned activities.

Inter-Agency Collaboration
UNICEF provides cluster coordination leadership in WASH and Education. UNICEF also leads the Child Protection sub-cluster and contributes significantly to WHO-led health coordination and the Food Security and Nutrition Cluster. UNICEF collaborates with the Government, UN and NGO partners in its relevant programmatic areas as well as on cross-sectoral issues. UNICEF humanitarian activities complement the ongoing development and reconstruction activities carried out by the World Bank in Gaza.

Funding Requirements
UNICEF’s funding requirements for 2009 amounted to US$42.2 million. These needs reflected the requirements through the CAP 2009 as well as the Gaza crisis. Subsequent to the CAP Mid Year Review in OPT, UNICEF’s requirements now amount to US$ 42.4 million. The revised financial needs show an upward revision for the WASH, Child Protection and Education programmes. The cost of essential WASH repairs is five times higher in Gaza than in the West Bank due to blockades and restrictions of material that can enter Gaza. Education and Protection programmes also rely heavily on supplies and services procured in the local market. The decrease in the revised requirements of the Adolescents programme is due to a project that was shifted to the Education programme. In addition the requirements for Health and Nutrition were reduced, since some of the projects were withdrawn from the CAP. The impact of the drought on communities has also affected the revised financial needs for WASH. Furthermore, UNICEF requires resources to ensure leadership in cluster coordination for WASH, Education and Child Protection to enable it to provide a dedicated effective, coordinated and systematic multi-partner approach to respond to and advocate for the needs of children. UNICEF oPt, received a CERF grant amounting to US$1,551,500.

Emergency Programme Priorities: July - December 2009

Health and Nutrition

Facilitate the procurement and timely delivery of routine Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) vaccines and related supplies to ensure vaccine security and high coverage;
UNICEF with partners will continue to assist 15,000 pre-school children per month at risk of moderate and severe under nutrition through support to 134 preschools in the Gaza Strip by providing fortified milk and high energy biscuits.
Strengthening technical capacity in the prevention and management of maternal and child malnutrition through partnership with the Ministry of Health and NGOs. Appropriate child care practices (including breastfeeding) promotion and expansion of the coverage of acute malnutrition management programmes will be emphasized. Four therapeutic feeding programmes are currently operational to assist the severely malnourished children.
Strengthening the nutrition surveillance to monitor the nutrition situation and improve the nutrition situation database, for reference in the future programming.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF is the cluster lead agency for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

UNICEF will support the repair of water and sewerage networks and respond to the water scarcity; it will advocate for the entry of materials into Gaza and ensure continuity with the wider reconstruction efforts;
Water quality will be monitored in 18 locations in south east West Bank serving 12,000 people, half of them children;
UNICEF will ensure water quality surveillance for 153 water wells and distribution points and hygiene promotion in 282 schools and 30 selected communities;
UNICEF will lead coordination efforts to alleviate the drought impact for marginalized communities in the West Bank.

Education; UNICEF and Save the Children are the cluster lead agencies for education.

Through the back-to-school project in Gaza, UNICEF will supply remedial worksheets (10,000 for grades 1-4 and 25,000 for grades 5-6), 50,000 copy books and school bags;
5,000 children in 125 marginalized schools in the West Bank and 6,000 in 60 low performing schools in Gaza will be provided with remedial classes in Math and Arabic through active learning and participating in extracurricular activities to improve attainment rates;
UNICEF will train 500 teachers, 200 principals and 60 supervisors in Gaza.

Child Protection: UNICEF is the cluster lead agency for the Child protection sub-cluster

A total of 15,000 children will benefit from psychosocial interventions;
A total of 7,000 parents and other caregivers will be trained/supported to better support and protect children;
UNICEF will support the establishment of a total of 20 Family Centres with WASH facilities in Gaza;
UNICEF will support the establishment of a framework for the monitoring and reporting of grave violations against children’s rights.


UNICEF aims to target 30,000 adolescents in 73 Adolescent-friendly Learning Spaces, most of which have WASH facilities, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through remedial and recreational activities, community out-reach and advocacy campaigns;
UNICEF, through its Family Centres in Gaza will provide services for approximately 10,000 adolescents and will target 6,000 children and adolescents in 60 centres in the West Bank.

1 Assessment by Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) in Gaza.


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