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Source: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
15 January 2015


On 8 January, the Gaza Strip was hit by a severe winter storm, which continued for almost a week. Four children aged from 1 to 18 months died due to complications of the freezing weather and poor living conditions. 151 individuals (23 families) have sought shelter in the existing UNRWA Collective Centers, which are currently hosting IDPs.

The number of IDPs in UNRWA Collective Centers stands at 13,624.

Electricity, fuel and cooking gas are running short in Gaza, due to the storm and slow passage of materials, affecting daily lives of thousands of people in dire need.

During the reporting period, 2,031 adolescents participated in skills development training activities including creative and critical thinking, communication, problem solving, team work and other non-cognitive skills, with the support of UNICEF's partners, TAMER, MAAN, Al Nayzak, Save Youth Future Society and INJAZ.

3,828 tons of drugs and medical supplies were delivered to Ministry of Health warehouses in Gaza.

The delivery of psychosocial support to children and caregivers in Gaza is ongoing. Since the end of the conflict in Gaza, 30,934 (15,075 girls and 15,859 boys) have received psychosocial support and 5,950 caregivers (2,945 females and 3,005 males) were reached through awareness raising activities.

3 - 15 January 2015

539 children killed
(Protection Cluster, 4 December 2014)

2,257 total deaths
(Protection Cluster, 4 December 2014)

54,000 children homeless
(OCHA, 4 September 2014)

2,956 children injured
(Protection Cluster, 4 December 2014)

1,500 children orphaned
(Protection Cluster, 1 September 2014)

89 entire families killed
(OCHA, 25 August 2014)

UNICEF Funding Need
$39.9 million

UNICEF Funding Gap
$29.6 million

Situation Overview

On 8 January, Gaza was hit by a severe winter storm, which continued for almost a week. Four infants perished due to freezing weather: on 9 January, Rahaf Abu Assi, 4 months-old, was taken to a hospital on Thursday with clogged bronchial tubes, and died at dawn on Friday. On 10 January, Adel al-Laham, one month old, died at home in Khan Younis. On Sunday 11 January, 3-month-old Salma al-Masri froze to death in a shelter for those displaced by the war in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. On 13 January, one and a half year-old Fadi Qudeih passed away in a caravan house, where his family lives. All victims were part of families whose houses were destroyed during the last conflict, and who were living in extremely dire conditions.

Due to the storm, 151 individuals (23 families) sought shelter in existing UNRWA Collective Centers, which are currently hosting conflict IDPs. Shelter Cluster and MoSA are coordinating with aid providers, including UNICEF, for the distribution of winter items for the most in need.

Tensions increased among the different parties of the Palestinian Government of National Consensus, thus affecting the livelihood of the Gaza inhabitants. Erez border crossing was limited from 7 to 14 January to humanitarian cases and international staff only, thus affecting the mobility of Palestinian nationals in and out of the Strip. The crisis between the factions spares the efforts for the physical reconstruction and the political reconciliation, leaving the Gaza inhabitants, and especially vulnerable groups such as IDPs, women and children, powerless in front of their reconstruction needs.

Tensions continue between the Government of Israel (Gol) and the Palestinian Authority: on 3 January the Gol announced its plan to withhold Palestinian revenue taxes collected in the month of December 2014, amounting to more than USD 127M as a retaliation measure against the recent joining of the Palestinian Authority to 18 international treaties, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The move of the Gol was publicly criticized by many countries, including the United States, as a form of collective punishment.

Labor strikes continue to cripple the Gaza Strip services: on 4th January, workers of public hospitals in the Gaza Strip went on strike for the day, to protest that their demands are not being fulfilled by the Palestinian unity government. According to the Ministry of Health, this caused the delay of around 200 surgeries interventions.

Electricity, cooking gas and fuel shortages affect the daily life of Gazans: on 5 January, hundreds of people demonstrated in the streets of Jabalya to protest against the shortage of fuel and electricity, which are severely affecting people's living conditions, exacerbated by the recent storm.

On 6 January, construction materials were delivered to the Gaza Strip: Israel allowed 33 truckloads of cement and 24 truckloads of gravel in the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom/Karam Abu Salem border crossing. The materials are part of the UN Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) for the reconstruction of the houses damaged by the conflict.

95% of the groundwater in the Gaza Strip is unfit for human consumption, according to the Palestinian Water Authority, and it is in dire need of rehabilitation.

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in 19 UNRWA Collective Centers (CCs) has decreased to 13,624 as of 14 January. The figure does not include the 151 individuals who are being sheltered in the CCs due to the storm.

At least 539 Palestinian children were reported killed as a result of the hostilities in Gaza between 8 July and 26 August, 2014. The child fatalities include 339 boys and 200 girls. 81% of them, or 440 children, were killed during the period of the IDF ground incursion, in the course of 20 days between 17 July and 5 August, this translates to 22 children killed on average per day. At least 2,956 Palestinian children were reported injured or maimed between 8 July and 26 August 2014. In total, a reported 11,100 Palestinians have been injured or maimed, of which children make up 26 per cent. The children injured include 1,938 boys (66%) and 1,018 girls (34%), aged between two days and 17 years.

Summary Analysis of Programme Response

Education and Adolescents

During the reporting period, 12,482 children redeemed their vouchers for school uniforms and shoes, as part of Phase I and II of the e-voucher programme, thus reaching 99.8% of target beneficiaries. Preparations for Phase III are ongoing.

During the reporting period, 2,031 adolescents participated in skills development training activities, with the support of UNICEF's partners, Tamer, MAAN, Al Nayzak, Save Youth Future Society and INJAZ. Topics covered include creative and critical thinking, communication, problem solving, team work and other non-cognitive skills At least 19,607 adolescents have been reached since the beginning of the programme.

Child Protection

Winter storm response: UNICEF organized the distribution of winter items in Gaza, in consultation with MoSA and the Shelter Cluster. On 13 January, UNICEF dispatched 850 warm clothing for children and 759 blankets to the MoSA warehouse for distribution to vulnerable children and families, based on MoSA and Shelter Cluster data. In total, 850 children (50% girls) and 253 families (3 blanket per family) are benefiting from the distribution of winter items.

On 4 January 2015, four widely-listened-to radio stations in Gaza started broadcasting daily spots on ERW risk education. Each radio station is broadcasting 5 spots a day on a staggered time schedule to reach the highest number of children and caregivers. The broadcasting will continue for 40 days.

The delivery of psychosocial support to children and caregivers in Gaza is ongoing. UNICEF and the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) reached 4,871 Children (2,443 girls, 2,428 boys) with psychosocial support in the reporting period. 1,100 caregivers (470 females and 630 males) also received counselling. Since the end of the conflict in Gaza, 30,934 (15,075 girls and 15,859 boys) have received psychosocial support and 5,950 caregivers (2,945 females and 3,005 males) were reached through awareness raising activities.

In addition, 23 Family Centers are currently providing core child protection services, psychosocial assessment, ERW risk education and outreach to vulnerable children and families. Caregivers of children attending the centers are also targeted through awareness raising sessions on child protection and ways to support the psychosocial development of their children. Thirteen family centers managed by Ma'an Development Center are currently providing child protection services to 11,460 children (6,630 girls and 4,830 boys). Additionally, 3,977 caregivers (2,998 females and 979 males) have received awareness raising sessions on child protection. The remaining ten family centers are managed by Tamer institute for Community Education. The centers are serving 6,590 children (3,054 girls and 3,566 boys) and 984 caregivers (847 females and 137 males).

55 members of the UNICEF-WHO led Mental Health Psychosocial Working Group provided 820,810 children with
Psychological First Aid
since July 2014. In addition, 73,429 children and 8,060 adults have been reached through structured group and individual counselling activities.

The UNICEF-led CPWG has documented programme implementation by 11 child protection partners reaching 34,302 children and 3,557 adults since the end of the conflict. These numbers do not include the partners providing psychosocial support and the number of children reached with psychosocial interventions.

UNICEF, in cooperation with NRC, UNFPA and UN Women held the first part of a five day Training of Trainers (TOT) on Case Management. The TOT aimed to provide a common understanding of the global guidelines on Case Management and Information Management Principles and to strengthen case management services for

Child Protection and Gender-Based Violence cases in Gaza. Other topics covered included Communication with children and Self-Care. Among the 30 participants were MOSA, MOEHE, national and international NGOS attended the training. Participants committed to roll-out the training within their own agencies over the coming month(s).

On 6 January, as part of the roll out of the Child Protection Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Action in Gaza, the CPWG held a workshop on child protection human resources. The workshop's aim was to strengthen adherence to Standard no. 2 through the development of child safeguarding measures among members of the Child Protection Working Group in Gaza. Specifically, the workshop identified ways for CP agencies to ensure staff understanding of child protection and legal frameworks in Gaza, assessing and managing child protection risks within their own agencies, development of child protection policy and code of conduct; and establishing reporting mechanisms. The 22 participants included CPWG members from UN agencies (UNWRA), Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs as well as local and international NGOs. All agencies will prepare an Action Plan and will send it to UNICEF as agency chair of the CPWG who will work with them for follow up.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Winter storm response:
As WASH cluster lead, UNICEF is coordinating the Cluster's winterization plans. UNICEF supported a winterization workshop, organized with CMWU, and assessed the needs, including for mobile wastewater pumps for storm evacuation, and cleaning gullies in the flood prone areas.

UNICEF is supporting CMWU's emergency preparedness for the winter by hiring heavy machinery and equipment on an 'as required' basis, for flood risk mitigation and response. On 9 January, UNICEF activated its services contractors who are in charge of providing heavy machinery and equipment to CMWU, in line with CMWU's needs. Main activities requested were opening and clearing of streets, cleaning of entrances of pumping stations and flood prevention. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 individuals have benefitted from the services.

As part of a joint WFP-UNICEF agreement on e-vouchers, vouchers for hygiene items for 228 families are being printed. These 228 new e-vouchers are meant to support some of the most vulnerable families affected by the storm.

Child Health & Nutrition

3,828 tons of essential drugs and medical consumables were delivered to the Ministry of Health warehouses in Gaza during the reporting period.

During the reporting period, breastfeeding awareness-raising sessions were conducted for 1,168 lactating mothers by UNICEF-supported MoH Community Health Workers (CHWs), thus reaching the total of 21,933 women, a number which exceeds the initial target of 15,000; awareness-raising session about communicable diseases (NCD) and vaccination were conducted to 927 women and 62 children, thus reaching the total of 1,710 men, 19,985 women and 3,948 children.

MoH and Near East Council of Churches (NECC) teams continue to provide post-natal care at home and in shelters, reaching 241 women during the reporting period. MoH teams continue to provide post natal care at homes. Since the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza which began on 8 July 2014, UNICEF has reached 4,875 mothers and their newborns in conflict-affected areas, thus exceeding the target of 3,250 mothers.

Field monitoring visits for IDPs Shelters conducted after the recent winter storm indicate a worsening of living conditions: evidence shows shortage in essential needs and in electricity, and children suffering to weather variations. UNICEF is planning to continue providing counselling sessions to mothers on child care during winter.

Humanitarian leadership and coordination

UNICEF, as part of the UN Country Team, coordinates with the Government of National Consensus to support its role in humanitarian response, early recovery and reconstruction.

UNICEF is co-leading a new Nutrition Sub Group together with Ministry of Health (MoH) in both West Bank and in Gaza.

In cooperation with the Government and other UN partners, UNICEF has participated extensively in an on­going Palestinian Detailed Needs Assessment and will continue to support the development of the recovery framework and strategy.

UNICEF leads the Child Protection Working Group and affiliated groups for mental health and psychosocial sevices (MHPSS), and for monitoring and reporting of grave violations against children (MRM - Children and Armed Conflict reporting mechanism). These groups have been merged to maximise coordination of child protection responses during the emergency. UNICEF also leads the UN Theme Group on Social Protection.

UNICEF continues to lead the WASH cluster and co-lead the Education cluster with Save the Children, both in Gaza and at the national level, with dedicated staff capacity.


Next SitRep: 29th January 2015

Costanza Pasquali Lasagni, Reporting Specialist, UNICEF, SoP, Jerusalem,
Phone: +972 (0)2 584 0455, mobile : +972 (0)54 778 7685,
email :,

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