A new 72-hour ceasefire agreed by both sides with Egyptian mediation entered into force at midnight and is so far holding. Negotiations over a permanent ceasefire are about to resume today in Cairo. While Israeli airstrikes and shelling continued until midnight, resulting in additional civilian casualties and property destruction, there has been no further increase in the number of people seeking refuge at emergency shelters.
Hostilities and casualties
Since the last update, 12 Palestinians have been killed as a result of Israeli air strikes, including three children and a woman, while another person died of injuries sustained previously. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians to at least 1,960, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 339 persons who could not be yet identified or their status established. Of the initially verified cases, 1,395 are believed to be civilians, including 458 children and 237 women. This cumulative figure on civilian fatalities was revised slightly downwards (1,402) following the receipt of new information that led to the reclassification of some cases from civilian to unknown. Some 226 have been identified as members of armed groups. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 17:00 on 10 August, 9,986 Palestinians, including 3,009 children and 359 elderly, had been injured.
The following incidents were among the most serious recorded yesterday:
Damage to houses and schools
During the past 24 hours, four additional homes were directly hit and completely destroyed as a result of Israeli airstrikes. The cumulative number of housing units destroyed or damaged since the start of the emergency has been revised upwards significantly following a series of assessments carried out by the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) and the Ministry of Housing and Public Works over the course of the previous ceasefire (5-7 August), in most affected areas that were previously inaccessible. According to the latest estimates, 8,800 housing units have been totally destroyed, requiring reconstruction, and 7,900 were severely damaged and are uninhabitable until major repairs can take place. This is over 160 per cent higher than the equivalent figure, approximately 6,400, recorded during the "Cast Lead" operation in 2008/9. Another 5,600 housing units have suffered major damage but are still inhabitable in part, while 33,500 have suffered minor damage. The estimated total cost for reconstruction and repair of these homes is approximately US$ 534 million
The previous ceasefire also allowed teams from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) to conduct initial assessments of educational facilities damaged during the hostilities. According to the findings a total of 230 schools have sustained some type of damage, including 25 schools entirely destroyed or severely damaged, which are not usable upon the start of the new school year. The new academic year will not start on 24 August 2014 as scheduled. Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) clearance, damage assessment, repair works and preparation for the new school year — such as class formation — will take longer than the two weeks left.
The gradual increase recorded in previous days in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to emergency shelters halted over the past 24 hours. Consequently there has been almost no change compared to yesterday's figures: nearly 237,000 IDPS are hosted in 90 UNRWA schools and another 39,000 in 23 government and private schools and public facilities, as of yesterday afternoon. Nearly 110,000 IDPs residing with host families have been registered and reached by various shelter partners; the actual number of IDPs with host families is believed to be higher.
UNRWA's hygiene and water campaign at shelters was launched yesterday, involving the dissemination of information on water conservation, appropriate hygiene practices and treatment of scabies and lice. UNRWA has also continued to provide food, water and non food items to IDPs sheltered in its schools and, with other agencies, to the IDPs taking shelter in government schools. Health teams in each shelter, including a doctor, a nurse, and a health educator, are monitoring nine health issues of concern, and are providing health education to the displaced. However, access to medical care, including medication for chronic diseases, remains problematic
Exceptional food distribution
An exceptional food distribution campaign targeting families who do not regularly receive food assistance was launched today by UNRWA, the World Food Program (WFP) and the MoSA. The campaign aims at improving the coping capacity of the entire population, which is affected by the lack of income and the rise in food prices. Eligible families, which include those currently in shelters, will receive 10kgs of rice and 30kgs of wheat flour regardless of the family size. Larger families, however, will be served first, starting with those comprising 12 or more members.
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) remains inoperable following an Israeli airstrike on 29 July. The volume of electricity purchased now from Israel and transferred via nine feeder lines has increased (108 Megawatts), and together with the supply from Egypt (28 Megawatts), they meet nearly 30 per cent of the estimated demand. As a result, Gaza's electricity company is preparing to implement a new distribution scheme, entailing cycles of six hours of supply followed by 12 hours of outage. However, the majority of households in the areas most affected by bombardments, including eastern Gaza City (Toufah, Shaa'f and Ash Shuja'iyeh), Beit Hanoun, Khuza'a and eastern of Rafah, are not likely to benefit from this due to the severe damage sustained to the internal distribution network.
UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-Wha Kang, 6 August
Key humanitarian priorities
Humanitarian space: access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities should be maintained, among other reasons, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and repair critical water and electricity infrastructure. Removal of the threat of numerous UXO in built up areas is vital.
Joint needs assessments: must be launched in the coming days to inform interventions by humanitarian organizations. This is contingent on an extension of the ceasefire.
Additional fuel supply: needed to operate backup generators at essential facilities, including water, sanitation and health, for longer hours.
Strengthen response to IDPs: improving priority response to IDPs in non-UNRWA facilities and with host families; ensuring common standards of response to IDPs throughout the Gaza strip, including comprehensive and common registration.
Humanitarian needs and response
Updates to this section will be provided in tomorrow's report.
The joint rapid needs assessment originally scheduled for 10 August will start on Wednesday following preparations in the past days, including liaison with relevant government counterparts, the allocation of staff to various teams, and the conduct of relevant trainings. Various technical authorities have committed their support. The assessment will take place in two phases: an overview at the governorate level, on the first day, followed by an assessment at the municipality and refugee camp level for a period of three to four days, as soon as the situation allows. Data collected will be entered on tablets and linked directly to a database. The information will be subsequently validated and analysed, before it is disseminated. Protection and gender concerns have been integrated throughout the process.
On 10 August, the Humanitarian Coordinator joined the daily coordination of the OCHA-led Emergency Operations Centre in Gaza to prepare for the assessment and coordinate urgent responses.
A camp manager, part of the OCHA surge capacity, has been deployed and started revising and elaborating on the response plan and policy with regards to IDPs.
Mr. Shawqi Issa, Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Agriculture of the State of Palestine along with the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. James W. Rawley launched the 2014 Gaza Crisis Appeal which outlines the planned humanitarian response of the HCT, including UNRWA to the current emergency. The appeal is intended to address urgent needs in Gaza and currently requests US$ 367 million to implement 86 projects in clusters/sectors including Education, Food Security, Health and Nutrition, Protection, Shelter and WASH as well as Coordination and Support Services. The clusters/sectors requesting the largest amount of funds are Food Security and Shelter which are requesting a total of US$ 293 million together. 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 from the ground becomes available and needs assessments become possible. The Crisis Appeal supersedes the estimates presented in the Gaza Crisis Preliminary Needs and Requirements paper of 24 July. The Crisis Appeal is available online at www.ochaopt.org.
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, ten project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 2.3 million Further funding for the ERF is still being sought.
UN humanitarian agencies, in cooperation with NGO partners are in the process of fmalizing 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, email@example.com, +972 592 911 047
Yehezkel Lein, Head of Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 54 331 1809
For media enquiries, please contact:
Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, email@example.com, +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.