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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 June 2010

The Humanitarian Monitor
June 2010

West Bank West Bank Casualties Israeli approval of development plan for Al Bustan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem Area C in Focus: Meeting basic water needs New Movement and Access report released by OCHA Nearly one quarter of West Bank refugees - food insecure
Gaza Strip Israel announces easing of the Gaza blockade; impact during June remains limited Military activities affecting civilians Fuel crisis deepens: power cuts of up to 16 hours per day Medical Referrals Abroad Low levels of essential drugs in Gaza Education undermined Civil society under pressure
Issues across occupied Palestinian territory Child Protection Box Pest causes widespread damage to tomato crops throughout oPt CAP and HRF Update

June Overview

On 20 June, the Israeli government announced a decision to ease its three-year blockade of Gaza, allowing the unrestricted import of goods intended for civilian use. Other items that Israeli authorities define as military or dual military/civilian items will remain restricted. Following the announcement, the volume of imports slightly increased, and some previously restricted consumer goods, mostly food and household items, were allowed into Gaza. While the decision is welcome, its humanitarian impact is likely to be limited as two key areas have not been addressed in the decision: restrictions on exports and movement of people. Without exports allowed out of Gaza, the potential economic impact of the partial removal of restrictions on imports will remain limited. Additionally, as most construction materials have been defined as ‘dual use’ items, housing needs are likely to remain largely unmet. Although these materials will be allowed for projects under UN or international supervision, the complexity and high cost of the monitoring requirements by the Israeli authorities make the implementation of a large number of such projects unsustainable.

Meanwhile, due to the blockade and the internal Palestinian rift, the level of services provided to the population of Gaza continued to deteriorate. This was particularly evident this month with regard to Gaza’s healthcare sector. Following a seven-month decline in the amount of industrial fuel entering Gaza resulting from an ongoing funding dispute between the Gaza and Ramallah authorities, power cuts have increased up to 16 hours on some days in some parts of Gaza. Back­up generators are incapable of making up for such a large shortfall; consequently, in order to reduce the load on these generators during power cuts, hospitals are forced to suspend or postpone elective surgery, diagnostic procedures and supportive services; sensitive medical equipment is regularly damaged as a result of these cuts. In addition, lack of internal coordination has resulted in the largest shortage of essential drugs at Gaza’s Central Drug Store recorded since the beginning of the blockade in 2007: 114 out of 480 these drugs were out of stock as of the end of the month. While the full impact of these shortages has yet to be assessed, they may result in interruptions to life-saving treatments for cancer and heart disease.

Although the uninterrupted opening of Rafah Crossing since the beginning of the months made it easier for patients to seek specialized medical treatment in Egypt, access to medical facilities in the West Bank, Israel and Jordan continued to be limited by a restrictive permit regime implemented by the Israeli authorities. This month, 21 percent of the applications were either rejected or delayed, an improvement compared to 27 percent in the previous two months. However, while the percentage of delayed applications declined, the percentage of those rejected significantly increased from roughly two percent to over 12 percent.

Protection of the civilian population throughout the occupied Palestinian territory continued to be of concern. During June, 15 Palestinians were killed, another 104 Palestinians were injured in the context of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, along with one Israeli killed and 21 others injured. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli-Palestinian fighting and other activities along the borders and in sea areas resulted in the highest number of Palestinians fatalities in a single month since February 2009 - eleven Palestinians, including two civilians. Most of the violence and casualties in the West Bank occurred in East Jerusalem. Much of the tension in this area was triggered by current and expected Israeli activities in the neighbourhood of Silwan, including the initial approval, by a local planning body, of a development plan, which entails the demolition of tens of Palestinian buildings to make way for recreational areas and various commercial and residential structures. The possible implementation of this plan could result in the displacement of some 500 residents.

Also of concern are the living conditions of Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank. The annual Movement and Access report release this month by OCHA revealed that while travel times between Palestinian cities and towns have declined due to measures adopted by the Israeli authorities, there was no parallel improvement regarding access to land and rural communities in Area C, particularly in the Jordan Valley. Access restrictions exacerbate the acute water shortage affecting Area C communities, particularly during the summer season, as a result of the lack of water infrastructure and previous years of drought. The water shortage has gradually eroded the herding livelihoods on which most of these communities rely. Humanitarian organizations seeking to address the needs of these vulnerable communities face considerable challenges due to the restrictive permit regime implemented by the Israeli authorities. An emergency response plan, which contains 15 water projects, was submitted to the Israeli authorities on behalf of the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in January 2010, however because of Israeli restrictions, none of the projects were implemented as of the end of June.

An additional threat to the agricultural livelihoods of thousands of families throughout the oPt has recently appeared in the form of a pest (named ‘Tuta Absoluta’) causing damage to tomato crops in greenhouses and agricultural fields. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is currently leading a collective response plan in the Gaza Strip, while in the West Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture has began to survey damage and provide farmers with relevant information.

While the easing of the blockade in the Gaza Strip and the facilitation of movement between towns and cities in the West Bank are welcome, additional steps are urgently required from the Israeli authorities to improve the humanitarian situation of the most vulnerable throughout the oPt. The opening of the Gaza crossings is necessary for the unrestricted import of constructions materials, for exports, and for the movement of people between Gaza and the West Bank. In the West Bank, access and building restrictions in Area C must be removed, and demolitions of homes in East Jerusalem should be permanently frozen. Additionally, to avoid further deterioration of services provided to Gaza’s population, Hamas and the PA must overcome political differences and improve coordination.

West Bank

West Bank Casualties
One Palestinian and one Israeli soldier killed; increase in injuries fueled by East Jerusalem tensions

In June, one Palestinian was killed and 88 others were injured in the context of Israeli-Palestinian violence. In addition, one Israeli soldier was killed and 17 other members of Israeli forces were injured; four Israeli settlers were also injured. Although the number of Palestinian injuries in the West Bank increased slightly from the previous month, it remained roughly the same as the average of the previous 12 months.

Violence in East Jerusalem resulted in one Palestinian fatality and over 60 percent of the Palestinian injuries, as well as 57 percent of the Israeli injuries.

This mirrors a similar pattern observed in the first half of 2010, during which 55 percent of the Palestinian injuries in the West Bank took place in East Jerusalem, compared to nine percent in 2009. Most of the month’s casualties in this area occurred in clashes surrounding two incidents:

On 11 June, the Israeli police shot and killed a 39-year-old man in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Wadi al Joz. The man was shot while attempting to escape the area on foot, after his vehicle collided with, and lightly injured, two Israeli police officers. Three Palestinian bystanders, including a 13-year-old girl, were also injured as a result of the shooting. This incident triggered protests, which resulted in one additional injury.

On 27 June, an attempt by Israeli settlers to return to the “House of Honey” settlement in Silwan in East Jerusalem, a neighbourhood already with high levels of tensions due to the Jerusalem municipality announcement of plans to demolish a number of houses in the area, triggered clashes between the Israeli Police, Israeli settlers and their security guards and the neighbourhood’s Palestinian residents. As a result, at least 36 Palestinians,1 half of them children, were injured; Israeli media also reported ten policemen and settler security guards injured. The majority of Palestinian injuries were caused by tear gas canisters and rubber-metal coated bullets. One 17-year-old Palestinian boy lost an eye.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, other settler-related incidents resulted in nine Palestinians being injured. Altogether, OCHA recorded 20 settler incidents in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which resulted in either Palestinian casualties or property damages in June. Since the beginning of the year, OCHA recorded 140 such incidents – almost twice as many incidents as occurred (68) during the equivalent period in 2009. Of note, four of this month’s settler incidents involved Israeli-settlers, who allegedly set fire to 460 dunums of land in the villages of ‘Urif, ‘Einabus, Huwwara (all in Nablus area), and Beit Nuba (in Ramallah). In the case of the latter, 800 to 1000 olive trees were burnt. Fires and vandalism of agricultural land have become increasingly significant, undermining the livelihoods of Palestinian communities located in the vicinity of certain Israeli settlements.

Demonstrations held elsewhere in the West Bank2 accounted for 19 Palestinian injuries this month. Protests against the Barrier were held in the villages of Ni’lin, Bil’in, and Beit Jala, and against settlement expansion and access restrictions to areas around settlements in Beit Ummar (Hebron) and Deir Nidham (Ramallah). The latter also resulted in the injury of two members of Israeli forces. Other Israeli casualties included a police officer who was shot and killed on 14 June by Palestinian gunmen on Road 60 near Al Fawwar refugee camp (Hebron); three other policemen were injured during the attack. Following the incident, the Israeli military imposed a four-hour curfew on two nearby communities (Wadi al Shajneh and Wadi al Hafayer).

Israeli approval of development plan for Al Bustan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem

Hundreds of Palestinians at risk of displacement

In mid-June, the Jerusalem Local Planning Committee approved a development plan submitted by the Mayor of Jerusalem for the Al Bustan area of Silwan neighbourhood (East Jerusalem). According to the Israeli authorities the plan would divide Al Bustan area into two sections leading to the demolition of at least 22 Palestinian buildings in the western section to make way for recreational areas and various commercial and residential structures. However, the urban planner assisting the residents disputes the numbers provided by the Municipality, maintaining that the plan’s implementation would in fact require the complete demolition of more than 40 residences, and the partial demolition of at least 13 others, displacing some 500 Palestinian residents.

The municipality has stated the displaced residents would be allowed to relocate elsewhere in the neighborhood. According to the residents’ urban planner, this “solution” is problematic as there is not enough space in the suggested relocation area, the remaining residents are under no obligation to share their property with their neighbours, and many of the remaining structures cannot sustain second or third floors, without being demolished and rebuilt.

Since 2005, the residents have been working on developing alternative plans that would allow for the development of new infrastructure while avoiding the vast demolitions of the existing buildings; however, their plan was rejected by the municipality in February 2009.

Area C in Focus: Meeting basic water needs

Area C, which comprises 62 percent of the West Bank, has been identified as a priority area for humanitarian assistance, due to a high level of need stemming from years of neglect and isolation.3 However, humanitarian organizations have faced considerable challenges meeting the needs of vulnerable Area C communities, primarily due to the restrictive permit regime implemented by the Israeli authorities. As a result, in January 2010, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) endorsed a response plan designed to address the most urgent needs of vulnerable communities in the areas of water, education and shelter.

With regard to water, Area C communities face significant shortages due to the lack of infrastructures and insufficient rainfall in recent years. The former problem is directly related to the reluctance of the Israeli authorities to issue building permits in Area C, particularly in areas that are defined as closed for military training (“firing zones”), where some of the most vulnerable communities are located. Despite the fact that the winter season of 2009-2010 had relatively high rainfall rates, the overall impact of poor rainfall over the past five years is still being felt and water tables have not been fully replenished. Moreover, the inability to install water harvesting systems (such as water cisterns) due to the lack of permits, has prevented many of most vulnerable families from taking advantage of the record rainfall.

In remote areas, the problem is particularly serious, given the reliance on herding, farming and raising livestock, which are water-dependent livelihoods. Many remote community locations are in areas without water networks and where filling points are not easily accessible due to the movement obstacles installed by the Israeli military. Because of transport costs, people are forced to purchase tankered water at a rate much higher than the price at source, placing a disproportionately heavy financial burden on families already noted for their poverty.

The HCT has identified 17 communities located in Area C, with an approximate population of 52,000, as the most vulnerable and in need of urgent assistance to access water. Each of the communities pays more than 20 NIS per cubic meter and/or has a consumption average of less than 60 liters per day per person. The objective of the HCT response plan is to reduce the cost of water by opening up resources closer to the community and increasing the volume of water from existing sources. The response package is composed of 15 projects, which include the establishment of water filling points, rehabilitation of water networks and wells, and the provision of communal water storage tanks. As of the end of June, no official response from the Israeli authorities was forthcoming.

New Movement and Access report released by OCHA

OCHA released a new report that provides data and analysis of the main trends concerning the system of West Bank internal movement and access restrictions implemented by the Israeli authorities between April 2009 and the end of March 2010, when the organization concluded its comprehensive closure survey. As part of the survey, OCHA documented a total of 505 closure obstacles, down from 626 on March 2009--a 19 percent decrease.

During the period covered by the report, the Israeli authorities implemented a series of measures that improved the freedom of movement of Palestinians between most urban centres, particularly in the north. These measures have significantly reduced the travel time between many cities and towns, as well as the level of friction between Palestinians and Israeli forces at checkpoints. As a result, large segments of the Palestinian population enjoy better access to services, places of work and markets.

However, there has been no significant improvement in access of Palestinians to areas behind the Barrier, including East Jerusalem, and to land and rural communities in the Jordan Valley. Moreover, the ability of Palestinians to use and develop land resources in these areas, as well as in other areas designated as Area C remains extremely limited.

Israeli settlements and their continued expansion were identified as the single largest factor shaping the system of access restrictions applied to the Palestinian population. For example, one of the frequent justifications given by the Israeli military for maintaining the closure of key roads into Palestinian towns and villages is that, if opened, these roads may serve as “escape routes” for perpetrators of attacks against settlements. Regardless of the security considerations that led to their imposition, these restrictions have reduced or eliminated Palestinian traffic along certain routes, which, as a result, have been transformed into rapid “corridors” easing the commute of Israeli citizens between the settlements and Israel, and, in some cases, between various areas within Israel via the West Bank.

This phenomenon has led to the gradual funnelling of Palestinian traffic onto a secondary road network. During the reporting period, new roads have been paved and others of poor quality have been upgraded in the process of developing this secondary network. These roads have created or reinforced alternative routes that “compensate” for the loss of access to main routes and therefore improve access to services and livelihoods. At the same time, by creating or reinforcing an alternative, this secondary network entrenches the exclusion of Palestinians from significant sections of the primary road network, now utilized mainly by Israelis and Israeli settlers.

Nearly one quarter of West Bank refugees - food insecure

An ongoing food security assessment carried out by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) in the West Bank that began in April 2010 indicates that roughly 46 percent of 85,290 refugee families so far assessed are either food insecure or vulnerable food insecurity (i.e. at risk of falling into food insecurity).4 Although the food insecurity rate is approximately the same as for the general population in the West Bank (25 percent), the rate of vulnerability to food insecurity among refugees is two-fold its equivalent among the general population – 22 compared to 11 percent. This gap reflects, among other factors, the vulnerability of refugees who often lack productive assets, such as land ownership.

The highest food insecurity rate, 79 percent, was found among refugee families dependent on herding for their livelihoods, mostly among Bedouins who live in Area C; this category includes approximately 2,500 families (16,200 people). Herding livelihoods have been increasingly challenged over the past years by the restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities in Area C, including restrictions on access to grazing lands and on the development of water infrastructure (see also Area C Section)

During the first quarter of 2010 Emergency Assistance (April to June 2010), UNRWA provided a short-term job opportunity to 21,300 food vulnerable families. Post assistance, 7,900 refugee families who had been previously assessed as food insecure were able to earn enough money to meet their basic food needs; 7,000 other families who had been at risk of becoming food insecure earned enough money to stay above the food security line.5 In addition UNRWA’s food assistance was provided to some 11,200 families who remained food vulnerable after cash-for-work assistance, live in areas without access to food or who are unable to work due to disability or age. This assistance provides 50 percent of the daily caloric requirement.

The capacity of UNRWA to adequately address the current situation of refugees living in the West Bank is limited by insufficient funding. At current

Gaza Strip

Israel announces easing of the Gaza blockade; impact during June remains limited

On 20 June, the Israeli government announced a decision to ease the blockade on Gaza, which has been in place over the last three years. According to the decision, allowing the unrestricted import of goods intended for civilian use. Other items that Israeli authorities define as military or dual military/civilian items will remain restricted. Under the new regime, construction materials will only be allowed entry for specific projects approved by the Palestinian Authority and carried out under the supervision of the UN or other international organizations. Further to the decision, the installations of the Kerem Shalom Crossing will be expanded to allow for larger amount of imports, and the operating hours of the conveyor belt operating at the Karni Crossing will be extended.

Full implementation of these measures is expected to proceed in the coming months. In the meantime, in the ten days that followed the announcement there was a slight increase in the volume of imports, along with the entry of a number of previously restricted items.

Overall, a total of 3,166 truckloads entered Gaza during June, a 13 percent increase compared to May (2,795 truckloads). Although this is the highest number of truckloads recorded since March 2009, it constitutes only 23 percent of the monthly average of truckloads that entered Gaza during the first five months of 2007, before the imposition of the blockade.

Although there were some exceptions made, including automotive spare parts and agricultural and fishing materials, new items allowed to enter in June were limited to consumer goods, including all food stuffs, and did not include raw materials. New food items entered in packaging designed for household consumption. Moreover, the entry of new consumer goods, along with the maintenance of restrictions over raw materials, has undermined attempts to boost the local industry. For example, the local beverage industry, which has been unable to import bulk ingredients, is now challenged by the entry of juice and soda drinks from Israel.

With the exception of glass, wood and aluminum (allowed for the commercial market in the past few months), only limited amounts of construction materials designed for three projects carried out by international organizations entered Gaza during June (a total of 88 truckloads). These projects include the repair of Al Quds hospital in Gaza City, the upgrading of a sewage pumping stations in Tel Sultan area (southern Gaza) and the resumption of an UNRWA housing project (151 units) in Khan Younis. The entry of each truckload designed for one of these projects continued to be subject to extensive coordination and monitoring procedures, which have increased administrative costs and significantly slowed down progress. UNRWA, for example, has had to hire over additional 30 guards to supervise the goods from entry to installation, and has had to rent additional warehouses to store the needed items. To reinitiate the previously stalled Khan Younis project, UNRWA has accrued additional expenses of 1.3 million USD.

While the easings announced by the Israeli government are welcome, they are insufficient to meet current needs in Gaza. Even if raw materials are allowed into Gaza without restrictions, economic recovery will remain limited by the ongoing restrictions on exports. The ongoing restrictions on the import of basic construction materials has resulted in unmet housing needs which have increased as a result of the population growth, natural deterioration of housing with time, and the widespread destruction of homes during “Cast Lead”. Although basic construction materials will be allowed for projects supervised by international organizations, the complexity and high cost of the coordination and monitoring mechanisms currently in place, make them unsustainable if applied on a larger scale.

Military activities affecting civilians

Israeli-Palestinian fighting and other activities in border and sea areas result in the highest number in Palestinians killed in Gaza since the end of Cast Lead

June 2010 witnessed the highest number of Palestinians killed in Gaza in a single month due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since February 2009. Fourteen Palestinians, including two civilians, were killed (and two in Israeli airstrikes of underground tunnels) and 16 others, including 14 civilians (three children), were injured. Since February 2009, at least 40 percent of Palestinians killed, and at least 83 percent of those injured, were civilians.6

Six of the 14 deaths during the month occurred in one incident off the coast of Gaza: on 7 June Israeli naval forces opened fire onto a Palestinian boat, killing six Palestinians, including two civilians and four members of an armed group. One of the civilians was the owner of the boat who had been accompanying the armed men; the other was a fisherman sailing in a separate but nearby boat. According to the Israeli media, citing IDF sources, the armed men were en route to perpetrate an attack in Israel; according to Palestinian sources the armed men were conducting a military training. In addition, two civilians were killed, and another was injured in an Israeli airstrike of the tunnels that occurred on 25 June. The five remaining fatalities were armed group members who were killed on two separate incidents along the border on 1 June. Fourteen of the 16 Palestinians injured this month, including three children, were unarmed civilians who had entered areas within a few hundreds meters distance from the border fence, where access is restricted by the military. Ten of those injured were collecting scrap metal; there have been a total of 19 people injured in these circumstances in 2010. There is high demand for scrap metal in Gaza as, due to the blockade, Gazans seek to recycle materials for use in construction and building repair.

Although Palestinian rocket fire towards Israel continued at levels similar to those observed during May, there were no Israeli casualties or damages reported.

Fuel crisis deepens: power cuts of up to 16 hours per day

Industrial fuel imports designated for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continued to decline for the seventh consecutive month, due to an ongoing funding crisis. Only 3.6 million liters of fuel were transferred into Gaza, the lowest levels recorded since December 2008, representing 27 percent of the amount of fuel required to operate the plant at full capacity, (13 million liters per month).

As a result of the shortage in industrial fuel, the GPP was forced to completely shut down for five days this month, triggering power cuts of 12-16 hours per day throughout the Gaza Strip, except in Rafah which is directly supplied by Egypt and experiences less cuts than the rest of Gaza. During the rest of the month, the GPP continued to run only one of its two operational turbines.

Power cuts affect daily life in Gaza and disrupt the provision of essential services, including water supply, sewage removal and treatment, and health services (see box herein). Public institutions providing these services have to rely extensively on backup generators and other alternative devices, which are extremely vulnerable due to the inconsistent supply of spare parts. WASH Cluster reports that 25 water wells with no standby power generators operate only when there is power. This has led to a 43 percent drop in the water provision throughout the Gaza Strip. Half of Gaza’s population now has access to the water supply only once a week (for the duration of six to eight hours), 30 percent once every four days, and 20 percent every other day.

Medical Referrals Abroad

Infant dies while waiting for referral; significant shift in referral destinations

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 21 percent of the applications for permits to leave Gaza through the Erez crossing, submitted to the Israeli authorities in June, were either denied or delayed; 14 percent of them were for children. Patients who had the applications delayed missed their hospital appointments and had to restart the referral process. Overall, the percentage of denied or delayed applications is power. This has led to a 43 percent drop in the slightly decrease compared to the equivalent figure water provision throughout the Gaza Strip. Half during the previous two months (27 percent), and of Gaza’s population now has access to the water significantly lower than any month during 2009.

The distribution between denied and delayed application, however, has been changing. For the second consecutive month, over 12 percent of all applications for permits were denied (compared to an average of roughly 2 percent since January 2008) while the percentage of delayed applications has decreased to 8.4 percent, compared to roughly 20 percent in the first five months of 2010.

The daily opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt throughout the month of June, except on Fridays, allowed 1100 patients to access Egyptian hospitals, roughly twice the monthly average during the first five months of the year. The improved access to Egypt has led to a shift in destinations for referrals: referrals to Egyptian hospitals more than doubled in June compared to May (443 vs. 209), whereas referrals to Israeli hospitals decreased by 19.1 percent, and to West Bank hospitals, including those in East Jerusalem by 17.8 percent.

Low levels of essential drugs in Gaza

The lowest stocks of essential drugs at Gaza’s Central Drug Store than at any point since the beginning of the blockade in 2007

Although a new delivery of drugs is currently in process, none were delivered to the Central Drug Store (CDS) in Gaza in June. As a result, stocks essential drugs were depleted to less than one month’s supply. In addition, supplies of 39 other items are only enough to last for one to three months. Among the zero stock drugs are those needed for cancer and heart disease patients and several antibiotics.

Regarding medical disposables, at the end of June the CDS received the second shipment from the MoH in Ramallah in 2010. However, despite this shipment, the CDS zero level stocks for disposables have remained unchanged (84 out of 726 essential items) as at the same time the stock of other items was depleted. Some of the current items out-of-stock are critical for cardiac and neurology patients, (e.g. pacemakers, adults’ cardiac electrodes and oxygen humidification chambers for infants) and for diagnostic procedures (e.g. endoscope disposable material).

Civil society under pressure

Local NGOs raided

On 31 May, several local NGOs and associations including Sharik Youth Institution, Bonat Al-Mustaqbal (Future Builders) Society, the South Society for Women’s Health, and the Women and Children Society, were raided by local security forces. The organizations’ offices were closed and some equipment confiscated. Although the offices of Sharek Youth Forum were reopened several days later, and some of their equipment returned, the rest of the affected organizations remain closed.

The Sharek Youth Forum is currently implementing ten projects serving more than 80,000 children and youth from both genders, including 60,000 in UNRWA Summer Games, 9,000 in family centres and educational support programmes, 2,400 in youth camps, 300 university students in “A Step Forward” project, and others participate in youth projects.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza reported that a nine-month-old boy died at Erez crossing on 26 May, while waiting in an ambulance to cross into Israel. The boy was suffering from complications from pneumonia, and his situation suddenly deteriorated. The Palestinian ambulance crew rushed to the nearest hospital in Gaza, but the boy had died by the time of arrival. With this case, the number of patients who have died before arriving at the hospitals outside Gaza where they had been referred has reached 32 since the beginning of 2009.

Education undermined

Forthcoming UNESCO report of psycho-social survey of students and teachers in Gaza

A forthcoming UNESCO report on the psycho­social situation of the education system, conducted by the Columbia Group for Children in Armed conflict, indicates that education in Gaza has been undermined by the prevailing humanitarian situation. The report, which considered the psychosocial impact of the war and blockade on the education system, revealed that student learning outcomes and the educational environment have been severely compromised. Negative impacts on access to quality education were noted in all sub-sectors and across all student age groups, as well among teaching staff. Moreover, negative psychosocial impacts tended to increase with the age of the student.

Issues across the occupied Palestinian territory

Pest causes widespread damage to tomato crops throughout oPt

Thousands of farmers at risk of losing their livelihoods

Tuta Absoluta (Tomato Leaf Miner), a pest that has been causing damage to tomato crops in greenhouses and agricultural fields in Mediterranean countries, has now reached the oPt. Severe damage was reported in Gaza in early June, and has since been reported in the West Bank. The pest can spread to other vegetable crops (i.e. – potatoes, aubergines, sweet peppers) and is a major threat to the upcoming cultivation season, which begins in August. Consequently, thousands of farmers are at risk of losing their livelihoods, and this could impact the already difficult food security situation for impoverished Palestinian families. The National Plant Protection Organization of Israel confirmed an outbreak of the moth in Israel in December 2009 which is currently being monitored and controlled.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is conducting an assessment in southern Gaza, and so far has found that 50 percent of greenhouses examined had experienced complete destruction of the crop, and a further 30 percent of those examined suffered losses of 25-50 percent of their produce. Affected areas in the Gaza Strip include Al Fukhari, Absaan, Khuza’a, Qizan a Najjar and Al Shoka, Khan Younis and Rafah. In the West Bank, severe devastation of tomato crops has occurred in Qalqiliya and Jenin governorates with moderate damage reported in Tulkarm, and light damage in Bethlehem and Hebron. A further assessment is underway in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in Ramallah has issued a response and contingency plan for the 2010-2011 season. In the Gaza Strip, response is already underway through sector workshops and the formation of a steering committee to guide the rapid and coordinated response required, including repair of greenhouses, mass trapping, and training on simple control measures. Information leaflets, as well as a local radio appearance, are helping to raise awareness on identification and control methods.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has secured funding from the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) for 10,000 pheromone traps and 30,000 doses of pheromones to cover all tomato greenhouses in Gaza for a period of four months. FAO-Gaza is also leading coordination with partners in cooperation with the ICRC, MoA and PNGO. In the West Bank, the MoA has set up 12 committees at the district level to survey damage and distribute flyers. Ministry of Agriculture extension service agents have attended training in identifying and combating Tuta Absoluta, while a sector-wide stakeholder workshop is planned for the West Bank in July before the start of the growing season. As yet, although some funding has been procured for Gaza, there is still no funding a response in the West Bank, and there may be additional resources needed to ensure a longer term and sustainable response.

CAP and HRF Update

The 2010 CAP in the oPt appeals for USD 664.4m – revised to USD 559m at the mid year review point. As of 15 July 2010 funding levels stand at USD 254m or 42 percent of the total.

The percent of funding per sector stands as follows: Agriculture 12 percent (of sector’s total requirements), Cash for Work and Cash Assistance 26 percent, Coordination 69 percent, Education 13 percent, Food Security 57 percent, Health and Nutrition 71 percent, Protection 46 percent, Shelter and NFI 64 percent and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 26 percent

The HRF supported FAO with $250,000 for a project aiming to control the spread of the tomato leaf miner (Tuta absoluta) crop pest which has attacked crops in Gaza. FAO will procure and supply traps to farmers in Gaza to control the pest in an immediate response while working on longer term plan with Ministry of Agriculture.

The HRF balance stands at $6.85 million.

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