27 March - 29 April 2015
• On 27 April, the summary of the UN Board of Inquiry report on Gaza was released and included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s condemnation of the Israeli strikes on seven UNRWA schools in Gaza during last summer’s conflict "as a matter of the utmost gravity", restating the inviolability of UN premises.
• According to the latest report issued by Human Rights Watch, Palestinian minors are used as labour force for the agricultural industry in Israeli settlements. The report indicates that "Palestinian children as young as 11 are paid low wages and work under dangerous conditions in violation of international standards".
• UNICEF hosted an inter-cluster/agency assessment workshop and training led by OCHA Geneva in Gaza to tailor the Multi-agency Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) tools for the context of Palestine.
• 7 April marked World Health Day. The situation in Gaza continues to worsen due to the consequences of the conflict and the closure, which are also preventing the population, including children, from accessing safe and effective health services. UNICEF continues its engagement on improving the health and nutrition of new-born children at the family level through the promotion of breastfeeding practices to mothers.
• In Palestine, during the first quarter of 2015, there was a decrease in the reported number of Palestinian children injured as a result of clashes between Palestinian and Israeli security forces (ISF), military operations, settler-violence and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), with 104 children injured compared to 300 in the last quarter of 2014. However, the percentage of child injuries by live ammunition in the first quarter of 2015 (36 percent) is higher than the last quarter of 2014 (28 percent).
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
# of affected population
# of affected children under 18
# of people targeted in 2015
# of children targeted in 2015
(Source: UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2015)
State of Palestine Funding Appeal for 2015
USD 37.3 million
January — December 2015
Funds Received *
USD 21.9 million
*as of 26 March, 2015
The situation in the Gaza Strip continues to be very tense: on 24 April an airstrike by the Israeli Air Force (IAF), the first since the ceasefire of 26 August 2014, hit a Hamas training base in Beit Hanoun, in the north of the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. According to IAF, the attack came in response to a rocket that was launched towards Israel on the night of 23 April, which fell in an uninhabited area without causing casualties or damage. Rocket testing by Hamas towards the sea has also been reported. Shooting towards Gaza’s fishermen by the Israel navy continued during the reporting period, with no casualties reported. At the regional level, exchanges of fire at the Israeli/Lebanese/Syrian border were reported on 26 April, causing several casualties.
On 27 April, the Board of Inquiry on Gaza, established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in November 2014, released the summary of its report on Israeli violations of UN premises during last summer’s conflict, confirming that Israel bore the responsibility of striking seven United Nations sites used as civilian shelters, in which 44 Palestinians died and 227 others were injured. Eleven UN staff were also killed as a result of the attacks.
The Rafah Crossing with Egypt has been closed since the last opening on 9 and 10 March. Internally, political cohesion within the National Consensus Government (NCG) remains fragile, affecting the service provision in the Gaza Strip and the living conditions of its 1.8 million inhabitants, half of them children. An agreement has been reached between the NCG and Israel on the release of Palestinian tax revenues withheld by Israel since January 2015. Israel is ready to transfer US$470 million to the Palestinian Government, and in light of this agreement, the Government will be able to pay the remainder of civil servants’ wages and pensions for the past four months. On 7 April, the NCG assigned Kamal Sharafi as coordinator of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, after the resignation of the previous coordinator, Mohammed Mustafa, on 31 March.
During the month of April, 700 truckloads of goods, aid and construction materials were allowed into the Gaza Strip through Kerem Shalom. The truckloads were intended to provide supplies for the agricultural, trade and transportation sectors, including construction materials, gravel for road rehabilitation and fuel. As per the latest report on the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism to the Council of Ministers’, since the start of the mechanism and until 24 February 2015, 1,760 trucks of construction material (70,672 tons) have entered Gaza. Around 89% of the construction materials (91% of the cement) have been bought by beneficiaries through 18 authorized vendors.
As of 30 April there are 4,981 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 9 UNRWA Collective Centers (CCs) and there are many more IDPs staying with host families.
According to the latest report issued by Human Rights Watch, Palestinian minors are used as labour for the agricultural industry in Israeli settlements. The report indicates that "Palestinian children as young as 11 are paid low wages and work under dangerous conditions in violation of international standards".
Humanitarian leadership and coordination
UNICEF, as part of the UN Country Team, coordinates with the Palestinian Government to support its role in humanitarian response, early recovery and reconstruction. In cooperation with the Government and other UN partners, UNICEF participated extensively in the Palestinian Detailed Needs Assessment and will continue to support the development of the recovery framework and strategy. UNICEF leads the Child Protection Working Group and affiliated groups on Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), and on monitoring and reporting of grave violations against children (Children and Armed Conflict reporting mechanism). These groups have been merged to maximise coordination of child protection responses during the emergency. UNICEF also leads the UN Theme Group on Social Protection.
UNICEF leads the WASH cluster and co-leads the Education cluster with Save the Children, both in Gaza and at the national level. UNICEF also co-leads a Nutrition Working Group under the Health Cluster, in close collaboration with the MoH and WFP, in Gaza and at the national level.
During the reporting period, UNICEF hosted an inter-cluster/agency Assessment workshop and training, led by OCHA Geneva in Gaza, to tailor the Multi-agency Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) tools for the context of Palestine. This initiative serves as a preparedness measure. UNICEF also conducted a 6 day capacity building session with staff and volunteers of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Gaza. The programme included sessions on child protection (including referrals and case management), health and hygiene promotion, and the use of UNICEF recreational kits and early childhood development kits. Education, Reconstruction & Psychosocial Support in Gaza, through a jointly implemented programme by UNICEF, UNRWA and UNDP
Summary Analysis of Programme Response per Section
Education and Adolescents
UNICEF’s Adolescents programme aims at enabling the development of adolescents and their participation in the community and society as active actors of positive change, by providing basic non-cognitive skills-building trainings and extra-curricular activities, including initiatives planned and developed by the adolescents at community level. During the reporting period, UNICEF partner Ma’an Development Center reached 1,456 adolescents as part of the Active Citizenship Group programme. The second phase of the PalVision programme, "Palestinian marginalized adolescents as leaders of community change" has started. Since January 2015, UNICEF and its partners Al Nayzak, Ma’an, Injaz and PalVision, have reached 21,782 adolescent boys and girls in the West Bank and Gaza, as part of the
As part of a comprehensive capacity building programme aimed at enhancing school management capacities, promoting and implementing the non-violence policy and prevention programmes at school level, 56 members of the Directorate Committee for School Discipline and Supervisors (Heads of the School Counselling Department, the School Health Department, the General Education Department, the school administration department, field workers and two supervisors per each directorate) participated in a training programme delivered by the Ministry of Education. The programme also included training on mediation skills for students, to enable the application of non-violence policy among students. During the reporting period, 1,200 students participated in a two-day workshop managed by the Ministry of Education on this topic.
UNICEF supported the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), Tamer Institute for Community Education, and Ma’an Development Center to continue providing psychosocial assistance to children and caregivers in Gaza. Since 1 January 2015, 24,769 children (12,481 girls and 12,288 boys) benefited from structured group activities, individual counselling and specialized mental health services. This includes 188 children (83 girls and 105 boys) who were reached by the Gaza Community Mental Health
Programme (GCMHP) with specialized mental health support services.
Through the work of the UNICEF supported Family Centres, 6,328 children (3,463 girls and 2,865 boys) and 13,340 caregivers (8,624 females and 4,716 males) were reached since the beginning of 2015. The Family Centers provide child protection services, case management, and life skills. Together with the emergency psychosocial teams they provide caregivers with awareness raising sessions on child protection, and support to the psychosocial development of children. In addition, 36,803 children (18,348 girls and 18,455 boys) and 21,476 caregivers (13,856 females and 7,620 males) have received ERW risk education through radio spots and awareness raising in the Family Centres.
Since 1 January, the UNICEF-led Child Protection Working Group and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Working Group co-led by UNICEF with WHO reached 42,109 children with structured group activities, 9,428 children with individual counselling services, and 225 children with specialized mental health services. A further 19,205 adults have been reached with structured psychosocial activities and counselling. Members of the CPWG and MHPSS Working Group provide a variety of additional recreational and basic psychosocial activities, including open days, sporting activities, expressive arts and drama, for a number of other beneficiaries.
On 12 April, in efforts to introduce a case management approach, UNICEF with the support of NRC, delivered a second round of case management training for 28 professionals, including case managers from the Tamer family centers, social workers of SoS village, social workers of Islamic Relief and GCMHP case managers. In total, 69 case managers were trained in Gaza. UNICEF has launched the case management process, which includes registration, comprehensive assessment, planning, and follow-up. The Ministry of Social Affairs Child Protection Networks and Ma’an Family Centers are now using the case management approach and receiving referrals. Following this training, 29 child protection cases started to be managed by the Family Centers (FCs) and Child Protection Networks (CPNs).
The total number of children affected by grave violations against children since January 2015 is 4,829. The total number of documented incidents in the same period is 361. During the first quarter of 2015, there was a decrease in the reported number of Palestinian children injured as a result of clashes between Palestinian and Israeli security forces (ISF), military operations, settler-violence and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW), with 104 children injured compared to the 300 of the last quarter of 2014. However, the percentage of child injuries by live ammunition in the first quarter of 2015 (36 percent) is higher than the last quarter of 2014 (28 percent). In addition, during the first quarter of 2015, 54 education-related incidents were documented in the West Bank, marking a decrease compared to the 73 incidents documented in the last quarter of 2014.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
During the reporting period, UNICEF and its partner CMWU completed the installation and fixing of 15 septic tanks in the eastern parts of Rafah and Middle Area (these locations are not connected to the sewage system). The intervention targeted 15 families whose septic tanks were damaged as a result of the summer hostilities, and now these families benefit from improved WASH facilities, thus reducing public health risks.
UNICEF, in partnership with the Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG) is planning to install water tanks to distribute safe drinking water to 775 families in the areas of Shejaiyeh, Beit Hanoun and Khuzaa, which were most affected by the conflict. The procurement of 5,400 jerry cans to be distributed in the same areas is ongoing.
Following the repair of a water well in Middle Area, 12,000 residents of Nusseirat and Zahra now have access to piped water.
Child Health & Nutrition
During the reporting period, 21 Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) health workers and volunteers were trained, through a three-day workshop on standards and guidelines related to breastfeeding and communicable diseases, and personal hygiene during emergencies. The training aimed at enabling the workers to provide information to IDPs including those remaining in shelters (4,981 persons still live in 9 school shelters) and as a preparedness measure for the future. UNICEF reached 885 women and 118 children at homes and in IDP shelters through specialized counselling sessions on exclusive breastfeeding, communicable diseases prevention and hygiene. The post-natal home visit programme is ongoing: during the reporting period, 568 women and their new-borns were visited for after-deliver health and child care. Since January 2015, the programme has allowed 1,727 mothers to receive home visits by specialized midwives.
As a part of supporting the process of polio eradication, the preparation phase for the capacity building component on achieving high quality "acute flaccid paralysis (AFP)" surveillance system is ongoing. Over 200 physicians and paediatricians working in paediatric hospitals, Primary Health Care (PHC) centres and PHC clinics will be involved in a training aiming at enhancing knowledge, skills and attitudes of paediatricians on AFP surveillance system in Gaza. The training phase is scheduled to take place in May 2015.
Meeting the urgent humanitarian needs of affected children and families in the State of Palestine will contribute to reduced tensions and increased stability. In order to achieve this goal, additional funds are required to expand existing programmes that are being successfully implemented on the ground in the following sectors: Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education / Adolescents, Child Protection, Health and Nutrition.
UNICEF wishes to express its deep gratitude to all public and private sector donors for the contributions and pledged received, which have made the current response possible. ‘Un-earmarked’ funding gives UNICEF essential flexibility to direct resources and ensure the delivery of life-saving supplies and interventions to where they are needed most. Continued donor support is critical to continue scaling up the response.
Next Sit Rep: 28th May 2015
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UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children 2015: http://www.unicef.org/appeals/state of palestine.html