18 September 08:00hrs – 24 September 08:00hrs | issue 62
Operational environment: The situation in Gaza remains tense. On 19 September IDF tanks and bulldozers entered Gaza east of Khan Younis for a clearing operation; on 22 September there was an incident of Israeli Navy opening fire towards Palestinian fishing boats; and on 23 September the IDF positioned at the border east of Khan Younis fired towards Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza continue to feel uncertain about the future, expressing concern about the unstable political and security environment and ongoing deterioration in the socioeconomic situation.
Information Systems Team Plays Key Role in UNRWA Humanitarian Response
At any time, but particularly during emergencies, it is vital for the Agency’s Gaza Field Office to be able to share information with staff in order to reach out to beneficiaries and maintain services such as health care and refugee registration. During the recent humanitarian emergency, UNRWA’s Information System Office (ISO) played a crucial rule in facilitating services to UNRWA beneficiaries, including emergency food distribution.
n*Generally, the ISO team is responsible for maintaining the Information Technology (IT) network in the Gaza Field Office as well as that of UNRWA installations throughout the Gaza Strip. In addition to conducting IT network maintenance services, the team’s daily work includes conducting network administration and technical services, as well as hosting a service helpdesk to address queries from staff.
The ISO team consists of twenty staff members in roles varying from administrative support to engineers and infrastructure specialists. The team is mainly based in the Gaza Field Office, but ISO staff will visit UNRWA installations such as schools, health centers and collective centers when network problems arise, including during times of conflict.
One of the ISO team members is Darwish Al-Helo. He is 37 years- old and works as a network administrator. Darwish says: “I live in close proximity to the UNRWA Gaza Field Office and I have worked during all the past conflicts. Despite this close proximity, it is difficult to go to work under emergency circumstances, but I prioritize my job because I believe my work indirectly serves the Palestine refugees and all those affected by the conflict.”
Tragically, three people were reported to have been killed and two injured when an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) exploded in a house in Shejayeh on 19 September.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 118 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
More information on the revised appeal can be found by here: here.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.
Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 56 million.