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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
31 May 2010





Issue n. 23
1 - 31 May 2010
WFP operations in oPt


WFP has been providing food assistance to the oPt since 1991. The Country Office is located in Jerusalem, and is supported by an office in Gaza, two sub-offices (Nablus and Hebron) and one port office (Ashdod). WFP employs over 100 staff in the oPt, both national and international.

WFP’s PRRO (Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation) started in September 2007 to meet the food needs of the most vulnerable non-refugees; it has covered both the West Bank and Gaza till December 08. Since January 09, following Operation ‘Cast Lead’ and the launch of WFP’s Emergency Operation Lifeline Gaza (EMOP— see below), it has been assisting beneficiaries in the West Bank only. The PRRO consists of four main interventions:

(i) Emergency relief for the destitute (in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA); (ii) Livelihood support for vulnerable households (poor farmers, unemployed workers and vulnerable women most affected by poverty and who have only partial means to cope with food insecurity); (iii) School Meals in the most food-insecure areas through cash-for-work activities, (nutritious snacks are prepared by bakeries and women centres which receive food commodities and cash from WFP); and (iv) Food-for-Work and Food-for-Training to contribute to and promote selfreliance by preserving agricultural assets to restore livelihoods.

To respond to the high food prices, WFP launched in April 2009 a Food Voucher EMOP in the West Bank covering approximately 5,500 families in urban areas, selected on the basis of two keystudies conducted in 2008 (Safety Net Mission and Rapid Joint Food Security Assessment).

Following the military operation in Gaza, two new operations were launched in January 2009: the EMOP Operation Lifeline Gaza and the Logistics Cluster Special Operation (SO). The EMOP targets 313,000 beneficiaries through general food distribution and school feeding, i.e., 70 percent of the non-refugee population in Gaza, aiming at meeting the immediate needs of the population affected by the conflict as well as improving the food consumption of families and individuals in need.

15,000 beneficiaries are receiving vouchers in urban areas of North Gaza, Gaza and Khan Younis. This enables them to access a range of various commodities including protein-rich food (dairy products and eggs) directly from small and medium-sized shop keepers while saving cash for other essential food and non-food commodities.

WFP also thrives to maintain the enrolment of children in schools through the daily distribution of milk and biscuits to 92,000 schoolchildren.
Operational Update
In May, WFP delivered 6,147 mt of food commodities in the Gaza Strip and distributed 1,474 mt of food to 157,970 beneficiaries in cooperation with CHF, the Ministry of Education (MoEHE) and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA).

14,593 of these beneficiaries received food vouchers in collaboration with Oxfam GB.

In the West Bank, WFP delivered 5,854 mt of food commodities during the reporting period and distributed 3,841 mt to 208,673 beneficiaries in cooperation with MoEHE, Near East Foundation, MoSA, Catholic Relief Services, and CHF International.

Food vouchers were distributed to 32,724 beneficiaries, in collaboration with CRS and ACF.

The number of trucks-per-day entering the Gaza Strip increased from 84 in November 2009 to an average of 106 in May 2010 (Kerem Shalom), but still below the operating capacity of 150 per day. 84 percent of the trucks are private.

With the ongoing blockade of the Gaza Strip, only basic humanitarian supplies are allowed to enter the Strip. The blockade continues to disable Logistic Cluster members to deliver the needed relief, recovery and reconstruction items.
Institutional feeding in the Gaza Strip
WFP has been providing assistance to institutions in the Gaza Strip since 2000. Institutional feeding has become an important component of the Assistance to the Destitute activity, which is being carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs, in support of social hardship cases.

In 2010, WFP is reaching over 6,900 children and adults in 52 institutions throughout the Gaza Strip. These institutions include hospitals, orphanages, centers for the disabled people, vocational training centers for marginalized youth and homes for the elderly.

The institutions are provided with a food basket composed of bread, pulses, vitamin A-enriched vegetable oil, iodized salt, sugar, fortified date bars and canned food. These basic commodities are used in the preparation of meals that are distributed at least once a day to the beneficiaries.

For the institutions that do not have the means to process wheat flower into bread, WFP has identified a number of local bakeries throughout the Gaza Strip. These bakeries will use the flour to produce the bread which is thereafter distributed to the institutions for inclusion in the meals.

In order to be eligible for Institutional Feeding, WFP has established a strict set of criteria. For instance, the institutions are expected to be a charitable humanitarian society, providing social services such as education, rehabilitation, health care
and skills development. Specific groups of non-refugee individuals are targeted, such as the elderly, orphans, people with disabilities, pregnant and lactating women, youth and children at risk as well as marginalized women. Priority is given to the institutions that are in financial difficulty to secure the basic food commodities for their patients. Credibility and transparency remains a key condition as well as the capacity to ensure a functioning management committee for the monitoring of the programme. To ensure that all storage and kitchen facilities meet the minimum standards, WFP is able to assist institutions through the provision of kitchen equipment.

The Assistance to the Destitute activity (including Institutional Feeding) is part of the WFP Emergency Operation (EMOP
10817.0), currently programmed until December 2010.
Ongoing and upcoming assessments
WFP, FAO and PCBS carried out a quantitative socio-economic and food security survey (SEFsec) in the oPt in 2009.

The results are combined with a Market Study. The last one was carried out in Gaza and the West Bank in August and September 2009 and the report was released in January 2010. The results of the studies and assessments have been compiled into a Comprehensive Food security and Vulnerability analysis, which was published in December 2009.

A Food Security Atlas, prepared by WFP in collaboration with the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, was launched in February 2010.

A Buffer Zone Rapid Assessment has been carried out in the Gaza Strip in partnership with OCHA in order to measure the impact of the Buffer Zone on land use and natural resources management in the area. The report will be published in July
2010.

A study on the impact of the tunnels on the market in the Gaza Strip is being carried out in the Gaza Strip in partnership with
OCHA in order to assess the socio-economic impact of the tunnels in relation to the blockade. The report should be ready in the summer 2010.

All assessments and surveys are available on www.wfppal.org
Gaza fruit juice: a success story bound to collapse
WFP carried out an interview with Ayed Abu-Ramadan, Director of the Palestine Food Industries Co. (PFICO).

Also known as the Gaza Juice Factory, PFICO is one of a kind in the Palestinian territory. The factory produces natural citrus concentrates and was actively competing with two factories in Israel for the export of high quality citrus concentrates to Egypt, Europe, USA as well as for distribution in the Israeli market.

The last shipments of orange and grapefruit concentrates were exported to Egypt and Israel in 2006. Since then, export dropped to zero. The tightening of the blockade resulted in the embargo on Gaza’s import and export and approximately 90 percent of the Gaza citrus produce vanished following the uprooting of orange trees around the Buffer Zone between 2000 and 2006. Today, Gaza’s citrus production represents a meager 6% of what it used to be and as a direct result, PFCIO was on the verge of closing down in 2007.

In response, they adopted a new strategy and successfully changed the line of production from producing raw citrus concentrates for export to producing alternative products targeting local consumption. These alternative products include citrus and other fruit juices as well as jams, ketchup and candied fruits and were well received by local consumers throughout the Gaza Strip. This change in strategy did not only put PFICO back in business but it also contributed significantly to the livelihoods of many. The company succeeded in increasing its manpower from 14 employees in 2006 to over 65 employees in 2010, securing sustainable and much needed jobs for Palestinian families.

Despite the Israeli embargo on much needed production inputs (such as citruses, flavors, pectin, packaging material, plastic bottles, cans, etc.), PFICO managed to obtain these inputs from local merchants. But at prices that are 30 percent higher for packaging material and up to 100 percent higher for citruses and other fruits. While 1 Kg of oranges costs
approximately US$ 0,25 in Gaza, it costs less than US$ 0,13 in Israel.

When trying to import 500 mt of grapefruit from Israel, the request was turned down by the Israeli authorities. The refusal is based on the fact that the goods were going to be processed in a factory instead of landing on supermarket shelves.

Recent events have led to increased pressure on the State of Israel to end the blockade, and as a result, a slight ease of the blockade has been noted. While only a select and limited number of previously prohibited items are now being allowed to enter, the ban is still valid on much needed raw and construction material.

The ease of the blockade could have meant that the much needed production inputs would be available (at regular prices), as well as the materials which were purchased from Israeli factories prior to the embargo. However, as it is turning out the
embargo is being eased on juice products instead, competing with PFICO and four similar local factories.

As a result, the current ease of the embargo is threatening the existence of the Gaza juice and beverages manufacturers and the livelihoods of approximately 500 workers and their families.

For comments or questions on the content of this report, please contact
Ancel Kats, Reports Officer WFP External Relations, Ancel.Kats@wfp.org, 00972 (0)546 77 31 28
www.wfp.org / www.wfppal.org

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