Although the Israeli military presence has been scaled back in Gaza, hostilities continued for the 27th successive day, resulting in mounting casualties, the continuing destruction of infrastructure and a rise in internally displaced persons (IDPs). This is adding to the unfolding humanitarian disaster about which senior UN officials warned yesterday, particularly in the health
sector. Gaza's medical services and facilities are nearing collapse, with hospitals and clinics overwhelmed. Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted and the destruction of power supplies has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators. The status of hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects under international law continues to be violated with more attacks reported since the last situation update (see Infrastructure below).
Gaza's sole power plant remains shut down after being shelled on 29 July. Repairs may take months to complete, exacerbating the electricity crisis. This affects private households, companies and public services provision, including water, sanitation and health facilities. Access to food is also increasingly affected: bakeries cannot meet the additional demand for bread, triggered by the lack of electricity in households, while the inaccessibility of agricultural lands has resulted in fewer fresh crops and a significant increase in prices for some vegetables. There are also reports of fishermen jeopardizing their lives by going 50 meters out to the sea to feed their families.
Children continue to bear the brunt of the crisis. The number of children killed stands at 373 with at least 2,744 injured. A minimum of 373,000 children require direct and specialised psychosocial support based on the number of families who have experienced death, injury or loss of home since the beginning of the emergency. Children are showing symptoms of distress and cling to parents, who might also suffer from sleeping and eating disorders, nightmares, nervousness, and feelings of depression, guilt, anger and helplessness. These conditions worsen with the realization that there is no guaranteed safe space in Gaza, including UNRWA schools, as underlined again by the attack this morning in Rafah. On six occasions since the start of the conflict, UNRWA schools sheltering the displaced have been subject to shelling.
A nine-year- old girl from Rafah to an UNRWA counselor.
Hostilities and casualties
The Rafah area in southern Gaza continues to be the main focus of hostilities, with the Israeli military still present in the area. Rescue workers report recovering over 70 bodies from the area today but parts of Rafah are still inaccessible because of ongoing hostilities. A strike on an UNRWA school in Rafah today, which killed at least nine people, is the seventh incident in which an UNRWA shelter has been hit. The UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the UNRWA Commissioner General have issued separate statements condemning this incident and calling for an independent investigation.
Since the last situation update, at least 192 persons, many of whose status still needs to be verified, have reportedly been killed. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians to at least 1,717, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, which includes 343 persons (20 per cent), who could not be identified or their status established. Of the fatalities whose identity and status could be verified (1,374), nearly 85 per cent (1,176 people) are believed to be civilians, including 377 children (27 per cent) and 196 women (14 per cent), and 14 per cent (198) members of armed groups. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 20:00 on 2 August, 9,078 Palestinians, including 2,744 children, had been injured.
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on attack outside UNRWA shelter, 3 August.
Among the most serious incidents recorded during the reporting period include:
In the last 24 hours, approximately 10,000 more IDPS are taking shelters in UNRWA schools. As of this afternoon, UNRWA was providing shelter to 269,793 in 90 schools throughout the Gaza Strip. This represents an average of approximately 3,000 IDPs per shelter, which normally have the capacity to accommodate only 500 people. Another 15,741 IDPs are residing in 19 government schools and other institutions and some 7,000 are reportedly seeking refuge in public buildings/ informal shelters. The Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) estimates that the number of persons staying with host families throughout the Gaza Strip could be as many as 200,000. The total number of IDPs in Gaza is estimated at approximately 485,000, which represent one quarter of the Gaza population.
Overcrowding at shelters is challenging the already stretched capacity to provide IDPs with basic necessities, maintain hygiene conditions, and prevent the outbreak of epidemics. While showers in shelters have improved personal hygiene and decreased the risk of spread of disease, an accelerated level of diarrhea has been reported among children. WHO and UNRWA are monitoring health in shelters in order to prevent and control any outbreak of communicable disease.
Robert Turner, UNRWA's Director of Operations in the Gaza Strip, 2 August.
Infrastructure and services
In the past 24 hours, an UNRWA school and two government schools have been affected by shelling. In the most serious incident, a missile fired by Israeli forces landed outside the gate of an UNRWA school in Rafah, killing at least nine people, including women and children, and injuring approximately 45. The school was a designated emergency shelter which had been hosting more than 3,000 people displaced by fighting in the area. This is the third occasion in 10 days that a UN school had been hit. Earlier this week, Israeli tank shells struck an UNRWA school in Jabalia, killing at least 15 people, including four children.
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on attack outside UNRWA shelter, 3 August
In total, 141 schools (90 UNRWA and 51 government schools) have been affected by shelling due to their close proximity to targeted sites. No information is available on schools in the eastern part of Gaza Strip and Beit Hanoun, due to the security situation. In the last 24 hours, another government-run kindergarten in West Gaza was affected by shelling, brining to four the number of kindergartens which have reported significant damage so far, although this number is likely to increase substantially once a full assessment can be conducted.
More hospitals reported damage by missiles, rockets and shrapnel from attacks in their vicinity, and are also facing shortages of services staff and of fuel, water and fuel. According to preliminary information, Al Amal hospital in Khan Yunis was hit by a missile on August 3 but no details of damage or possible injuries are available. The Cardiac Hospital in Gaza also suffered damage to the cardiac lab, administration building, windows and an ambulance and one person was injured. The Patients Friends Hospital also reported damage to one of their ambulances.
Al Asqa Hospital, which has been working at 50 per cent capacity following at attack on 21 July in which at least three people were killed, reported being hit on the roof by a drone missile on 30 July which caused major damage to the female medical department and injured a nurse. The Gaza European Hospital, located in an area where access has become dangerous, between Rafah and Khan Younis, reported stoppage of its water supplies, forcing the 250-bed hospital to a bring water truck which can supply only 50 per cent of its needs. On 2 August, its main generator shut down, the daily supply of bread did not reach the hospital, and the laundry services was not working due to the manager not being able to report to work.
Key humanitarian priorities
Protection of civilians: ensuring respect for the IHL principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack.
Humanitarian space: increased access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities, for example, through regular and meaningful humanitarian pauses or corridors for the evacuation of the injured. This is needed among other reasons, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and repair critical water and electricity infrastructure.
Additional fuel supply: needed to operate backup generators at essential facilities, including water, sanitation and health, for longer hours.
Scale up response to IDPs: additional shelters are needed to reduce overcrowding and accommodate new IDPs, alongside the replenishment of food, water and hygiene materials, and NFI stocks. Assistance for IDPs living with host families also needs to be increased, particularly the provision of NFIs and water and hygiene kits.
Update on Gaza Crossings:
Erez: Open from 09:00 to 13:00 for pre-coordinated movement only.
Beit Hanoun (Arba-Arba): Closed until further notice but still accessible.
Kerem Shalom: The crossing was open today from 10:00-15:00. On 2 August, 37 truckloads of goods entered, mostly food
items, medicine and mattresses, in addition to fuel.
Rafah: The crossing was open today, but is inaccessible due to ongoing hostilities in the area.
Humanitarian needs and response
Gaps & Constraints
The Emergency Operations Centre EOC) continues its daily meetings, focusing primarily on the coordination of the IDP response and challenges related to humanitarian space. OCHA, UNRWA, Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) and Internal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continue the coordination of opening up additional government schools for IDP shelters.
On 3 August, the Humanitarian Coordinator travelled to Gaza to meet with the Gaza-based EOC and other partners to coordinate humanitarian responses.
On 1 August, the Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Agriculture of the State of Palestine, H.E. Mr. Shawqi Issa and the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. James W. Rawley, launched the Gaza Crisis Appeal which outlines the planned humanitarian response of the HCT, including UNRWA to the current emergency. The appeal projects are intended to address urgent needs in Gaza and requirements currently stand at US$ 369 million The appeal is based on the latest analysis of the required emergency assistance to meet the most critical needs of the affected population and will be revised as further information becomes available.
A number of bilateral contributions have already been received from donors who have provided funding for urgent needs in the most critical sectors.
The 2014 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the oPt has received US$ 170 million (43 per cent) out of a total request of US$ 390 million Nearly 90 per cent of 1.9 million vulnerable people targeted in the SRP are in Gaza. Gaza-specific projects have received 32 per cent of their requested funding.
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, seven project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 1.6 million• ACF's two projects to provide emergency shelter and NFIs and water, sanitation and hygiene to affected families; Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) project to support for the emergency needs of neonatal units in Gaza hospitals by procurement of essential drugs and disposables; Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) emergency intervention to support the continuation of health services in the northern area of Gaza Strip by providing dedication fuel and consumables to Al Awda hospital, Dan Church Aid and PARC projects to provide food packages and hygiene kits to IDPs hosted in Shelters in Deir Al Balah ,Rafah and Khan Yunis; by and UNMAS' project for the management of ERW to reduce the risk posed to civilians. In addition, a proposal by Palestinian Medical Relief Society — PMRC for Emergency Intervention,(totalling US$ 249,845) to build community support teams in Gaza Strip, is under process.
A number of donors have come forward with expressions of interest or pledges for the ERF; thus far, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Ireland have pledged a combined sum of US$ 3.3 million Further funding for the ERF is still being sought. UN humanitarian agencies, in cooperation with NGO partners are finalizing an application to the CERF Rapid Response window covering urgent needs in food assistance, psychosocial support, WASH, rubble removal and critical drugs.
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:
Katleen Maes, Head of the humanitarian Emergency Operations Center in Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 592 911 047
Yehezkel Lein, Head of Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, email@example.com, +972 54 331 1809
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 (0) 54 3311816 For more information, please visit www.ochaopt.org
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.