GAZA HUMANITARIAN SITUATION REPORT
6 July - 13 July 2007
� Kerem Shalom: The crossing did not open on 6, 12 and 13 July while on 10 July it was closed prematurely due to the firing of mortars towards the crossing by Palestinian militants. Two truckloads were able to cross on 10 July before the incidents and the remaining 14 truckloads that were scheduled to cross were diverted by the IDF to Sufa. On 9 July three truckloads of fruit destined to enter Gaza via Kerem Shalom were turned back by Hamas.
� Sufa: The crossing remains the main entry point for humanitarian supplies entering the Gaza Strip. Sufa crossing was open daily (except for the Israeli weekend when all crossings are closed). On 9 July a total of 120 truckloads entered. Ninety percent of World Bank financed pipes, fittings and equipment for the Northern Gaza Emergency Sewage problem were permitted to enter Gaza during the week through Sufa crossing.
� Karni: A single-lane conveyor belt/chute at Karni was open on 10 and 11 July for importing barley, wheat grains, animal feed, soya, corn and bringing into Gaza 1,680 tons of wheat. Karni crossing remains closed for import of all other items and all exports.
� Erez: The crossing has been open since 4 July for the passage of senior Palestinian traders into Israel. Erez crossing continues to remain open for international agencies and health cases referrals to Israel. Coordination is required with the Israeli DCL for those national and international staff departing Gaza.
� Rafah: The crossing has now been closed since 10 June effectively preventing all movement in and out of Gaza for the 1.5 million people in Gaza. Approximately 6,000 Palestinians remain stranded in Al Arish and Sheikh Zouaid towns with a further 400-700 Palestinians estimated to be at the border itself.
A UN assessment team comprising UNICEF, WFP, WHO and UNHCR visited the area between 3 and 4 July and concluded that no immediate humanitarian assistance is needed. The situation continues to be monitored by UNHCR and the ICRC, and a second mission will likely be deployed next week. The North Sinai Governorate is working on a contingency plan in the event that the border closure continues and people’s coping mechanisms further erode. Most of the Palestinians are relying on savings to cover daily accommodation and food costs, raising concerns about the need for assistance in the coming weeks.
The Egyptian Red Crescent provided food parcels and hygiene kits to over 100 Palestinians who have been staying at Al Arish airport on 11 July.
Gaza Power Plant. The lack of capacity at the Gaza power plant has resulted in increasing power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip over the last week. Outages of 3-5 hours on a daily basis are now being experienced. This situation has arisen from the increased seasonal demand and insufficient supply. One transformer that would add up to an extra 15 MW is presently located in Egypt, another turbine has shut down and another turbine could shut down next month if maintenance does not take place. Efforts are now underway to deploy a technical team to Gaza.
Beit Lahia Waste Water Treatment Plant. All activities at the treatment plant – installation of the pressure line and ongoing reinforcement of the embankments – ceased on 2 May, with the exception of the pumping of the large effluent lake. The halt in activities resulted from protests by the local community at not being allocated alternative land as had been promised by the PA after the recent flooding.
Pumping from the large lake to the new emergency lagoons continues with emergency support from UNICEF, with waste water pumped at a rate of 14,000 m3 per day. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) is proposing to install mobile pumps that could increase the pumping rate to 24,000 m3 per day.
On the basis of a recent report by a team of consultants, the effluent lake’s embankments are safe during the summer with the exception of a 300 metres section. If work does not resume however, the consultants fear that the embankments could collapse during the winter with flooding of the surrounding areas.
The World Bank and the CMWU were able to import into Gaza through Sufa, supplies for the new treatment plant.
Fuel Shortages. The CMWU is unable to obtain fuel from its regular suppliers since previous bills for March and April have yet to be paid by the Ministry of Finance and the President’s Office. This impacts directly on the operation of wells that require back up generators due to insufficient electricity from the power plant. International agencies have had to intervene to support the operations of the CMWU with ICRC providing 20,000 litres of fuel, UNICEF 50,000 litres and OXFAM 40,000 litres. The CMWU normally receives its supplies via the ESSP programme and requires 250,000 litres a month.
UNRWA announced on 9 July that construction has come to a halt on all of its building projects due to the lack of basic building supplies. The suspension of $93 million worth of projects will impact on the proposed repair and reconstruction of refugee shelters, schools, community centres, water and sanitation works as well as medical facilities. Certain projects are time sensitive and thus the inability to build new schools will lead to continued overcrowding in UNRWA’s existing class rooms.
United Nations - Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
occupied Palestinian territory P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, www.ochaopt.org Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841 Email: ochaopt @un.org