The humanitarian situation in the State of Palestine* deteriorated as a result of escalating violence beginning in June 2014, posing a serious threat to children's lives, liberty and security. In Gaza, hundreds of people, including women and children have been reported killed and many more injured as a result of increased military operations and the escalation of hostilities. Both airstrikes and rocket attacks are putting children at risk, leaving them exposed to physical harm and mental distress. The deteriorating situation has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian conditions for children in Gaza which worsened during the first six months of 2014, leading to a significant decline in the provision of basic services, a fuel crisis, and the depletion of family coping mechanisms. In the West Bank, girls and boys continue to be affected by home demolitions and military operations, arrests, poor treatment and harassment at checkpoints.
Total affected children: 990,000
Total people to be reached in 2014: 346,400
Total children to be reached in 2014: 267,600
2014 Revised Programme Targets
• 30,000 affected children have access to essential drugs and consumables
• 49,000 people in humanitarian situations in Gaza are using appropriate sanitation facilities and accessing safe drinking water
• 67,600 people (50% children) in the West Bank (including communities in Area C at risk of displacement) have access to safe drinking water.
• 26,000 children (50% girls) and 5,900 caregivers in conflict-affected areas benefit from protection and psychosocial support activities
• 100,000 children (50% girls) and 15,000 caregivers benefit from mine risk education
• Monitoring and reporting mechanism strengthened with improved protection of the rights of children in military detention.
• 31,500 school-aged children have access to safe learning environments
• 20,000 adolescents (50% girls) participate in after-school programmes for play and learning
In light of the deteriorating situation, UNICEF revised its programme targets to meet the increasing humanitarian needs of the affected population. Notably in health, UNICEF has revised its target for the procurement of life-saving drugs, essential drugs (reported at zero stocks) and consumables for 30,000 children at neonatal and paediatric care units.
UNICEF targets in the area of water and sanitation include to support the rehabilitation of water and sewage pipes, water trucking and hygiene education in highly vulnerable communities, including reaching communities affected by the current escalation of hostilities. As lead of the WASH Cluster, UNICEF will continue to work with partners to ensure a coordinated and timely humanitarian response, including advocacy and resource mobilization efforts to address the fuel crisis in Gaza.
Psychosocial emergency teams and child-friendly centres will provide protection and psychosocial support activities including mine-risk education for most affected children and families with focus on areas that have been most impacted by the June escalation of violence including East Jerusalem, Hebron and Gaza. Monitoring and reporting on grave violations will be strengthened, as will advocacy for improved protection of children in military detention.
UNICEF will support protected and safe access to learning for affected school-aged children, safe transport and school rehabilitation including the scale up in protective presence for children crossing checkpoints to ensure safe commute to schools. UNICEF will give special attention to the needs of adolescent girls and boys in highly affected areas through after school learning and recreational programmes.
UNICEF will continue to lead the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster; the Child Protection Working Group and the Israel/oPt Working Group on grave violations against children; will co-lead the Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group with the World Health Organization (WHO); and co-lead the Education cluster with Save the Children.
Results 2014 (January to June)
As part of the inter-agency 2014 Strategic Response Plan (January to December 2014) UNICEF has appealed for US$14,294,000. As of 30 June 2014, only 1 per cent of the appeal has been funded. This dire lack of funding has compromised UNICEF's ability to respond to the needs of the most affected women and children in Gaza, Area C, and East Jerusalem. In Health, the lack of funding has compromised UNICEF and partners' capacity to meet the health needs of affected communities. To date, only 7 per cent of the required funding has been received, allowing the procurement of essential drugs for only 2,500 children out of 30,000 targeted for this year.
In WASH, the lack of funding has delayed improvements in sanitation conditions for approximately 9,000 people in Gaza. UNICEF utilized non-humanitarian funding to support two interventions in the West Bank involving the repair and upgrading of water networks in South West Bank, expected to reach around 7,500 people (50 per cent children) by year end; and water distribution and water quality monitoring for around 35,100 people (50 per cent children) in vulnerable communities at risk of displacement in Area C.
In Education, the lack of funding meant a scale down in UNICEF's response. UNICEF utilized non-humanitarian funding to support the refurbishment of 30 schools in Gaza and 10 schools in the West Bank. UNICEF is supporting the protective accompaniment of children living in the Area C of the West Bank in communities exposed to the presence and actions of Israeli security forces, and settler violence to ensure protected school commutes. If funds are available, this support can be expanded to reach all affected children.
In Child Protection, through rolled-over humanitarian funds, the emergency teams were operational for two months only reaching around 9,538 children (47 per cent girls). No other funding was received for psychosocial programmes — including the emergency psychosocial teams and the Family Centres in Gaza - thereby affecting partner capacity to support children and their families affected by violence,' and spearhead an immediate response to the recent escalations. UNICEF struggled to secure humanitarian funding for MRM coordination. Through limited other funding, UNICEF continued the documentation on grave violations against children and was able to document 265 incidents, affecting at least 13,376 children during the first three months of 2014." Progress was noted in relation to increased protection for children arrested by Israeli Security Forces with the establishment of a pilot test of summons in lieu of night arrests, which started in February 2014. UNICEF is undertaking emergency preparedness activities including strengthening capacities of partners.
In line with the inter-agency 2014 Strategic Response Plan, UNICEF is requesting US$14,284,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the State of Palestine. As of 30 June, 2014 only 1 per cent of the emergency appeal has been funded, which has resulted in a critical shortage of resources to meet the humanitarian needs of women and children.
Additional funding is essential to enable UNICEF to continue with humanitarian programmes including ensuring the provision of critical health care and WASH services, and to provide children and caregivers in highly vulnerable areas with access to protection services and education.