This report is produced by OCHA oPt in collaboration with humanitarian partners. This report covers the period from 15 August (08:00 hrs) to 18 August (08:00 hrs). The next report will be issued on 19 August.
The ceasefire, extended on 13 August, has held with no major incidents recorded during the reporting period. The ceasefire is scheduled to expire at midnight tonight, amidst ongoing negotiations in Cairo between the parties to reach a permanent ceasefire or to agree on another temporary extension.
On 17 August, Israel partially lifted access restrictions to the sea to allow fishermen to move three nautical miles (NM) from the Gaza shore. This was the limit established between early 2009, during the Cast Lead military offensive, until the 21 November 2012 ceasefire understanding that followed the Pillar of Defense offensive, when access at sea was extended to six NM. Fishermen had been prohibited from fishing during the most recent hostilities.According to the Oslo Accords, the fishing areas allocated to Palestinian fishermen should extend to 20 NM off the Gaza coast.
The relative calm has allowed for additional needs assessments to take place. According to preliminary fmdings by the Palestinian Federation of Industries, 2,695 businesses had to stop operating due to hostilities, resulting in approximately 30,000 workers totally or partially losing their jobs. Some 350 businesses were damaged, with 126 destroyed and 234 partially
damaged. Two thirds of the damaged businesses were in Gaza city. The Ministry of Agriculture has also carried out an assessment of damages to the farming sector with losses, both direct and indirect, estimated at US$ 450 million
In the absence of a permanent agreement, the number of displaced has risen again, as families discover that their homes are uninhabitable or lack basic services, or they are returning because they wish to secure their places in shelters should hostilities resume again. At least 380,000 are seeking shelter in emergency shelters or with host families; an estimated 100,000 will be long-term displaced due to destruction/severe damage to homes. Despite ongoing repairs to utilities, the majority of the population continues to cope with severe shortages in water and power services; a permanent ceasefire is required to allow continued repairs to water and wastewater networks and facilities.
Hostilities and casualties
Since the last update, the Protection Cluster has recorded another fatality, a 64-year-old man whose body was recovered from Beit Hanoun. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians since 7 July to at least 1,976, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, including 329 persons who could not be yet identified or their status established. Of the initially verified cases, 1,417 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 239 women, and 230 members of armed groups. The UXO fatalities recorded on Wednesday have not yet been included in the cumulative figures. According to the World Health Organization, as of 17:00 on 12 August, 10,193 Palestinians, including 3,084 children, 1,970 women and 368 elderly, were injured.
Since 8 July, three civilians in Israel have been killed, including one foreign national, and dozens directly injured by rockets or shrapnel. The total number of Israeli military fatalities stands at 64.
The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in emergency shelters continues to rise. As of yesterday afternoon, there were 237,659 hosted in 81 designated UNRWA schools, (up from 229,872 registered the previous day) and 28,229 in seven government shelters supported by UNRWA (up from 26,949 previously).
The number of IDPs residing in government schools not assisted by UNRWA is unknown. Nearly 115,000 IDPs residing with host families have been registered and reached by various shelter partners. An estimated 100,000 people will be long-term displaced due to destruction/severe damage to homes. On 16 August, the Government of Qatar announced that it would donate US$1,000 to every Palestinian family whose house was destroyed during recent hostilities.
Almost half of the displaced in UNRWA shelters are children below the age of 18. Children have been particularly impacted by hostilities and need support to make sense of the violence they have witnessed. UNRWA has deployed counselors to all its shelters since the start of the emergency to promote positive coping mechanisms and enhance the resilience of individuals, families and communities.
Key humanitarian priorities:
Humanitarian space: access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities should be maintained, among other reasons, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and repair critical water and electricity infrastructure. Removal of the threat of numerous UXO in built up areas is vital.
Joint needs assessments: the first phase initial rapid needs assessment, covering the governorate level, was launched on 13 August to inform responses by humanitarian organizations. The second phase, covering the municipal level, began today.
Additional fuel supply: fuel is needed to operate backup generators at essential facilities, including water, sanitation and health, for longer hours.
Strengthen response to IDPs: improving priority response to IDPs in non-UNRWA facilities and with host families; ensuring common standards of response to IDPs throughout the Gaza strip, including comprehensive and common registration.
Humanitarian needs and response
Cash assistance of more than US$ 68 million is needed for 16,792 families to cover rental fees and urgent expenses.
The first phase of the joint rapid needs assessment, led by the EOC started on 13 August, and data analysis in ongoing. The second phase of the joint rapid needs assessment started on 18 August, covering 19 municipalities (some 80 assessment staff were involved and at least 250 key informants interviewed, including youth, persons with disabilities and elderly). If the situation allows, the remaining six municipalities will be covered on 19 August and the eight refugee camps on 20 August. 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 as have questions on the information needs of affected communities.
Since its activation, the Logistics Cluster has facilitated the transportation of over 1,200 pallets of humanitarian relief supplies via 47 trucks from the West Bank on behalf of 17 humanitarian organisations for distribution within the Gaza Strip.
Based on available information, funding to the Gaza Crisis Appeal ((requirements of US $367 million) stands at US $120 million, of this US $96 million is for UNRWA, US $16.5 million for WFP and US $7 3 million (reported) for others which are mainly for Food, leaving large gaps to respond in other critical sectors such as Health, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Education and Shelter and Non Food Items. Many key UN and NGOs partners identified for the Gaza response have received little to no funding to date for their projects in the Crisis Appeal. The Crisis Appeal is available online at www.ochaopt.org.
The Emergency Response Fund (ERF) is an additional mechanism available to fund interventions in Gaza through rapid and flexible support to affected civilian populations. The ERF has begun processing project applications in regards to the Gaza emergency. To date, eleven project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 2.6 million Further funding for the ERF is still being sought.
The CERF Secretariat is also currently reviewing a package of proposals from UN humanitarian agencies, in cooperation with NGO partners, 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:
Ms. Katleen Maes, Head of the humanitarian Emergency Operations Center in Gaza, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 592 911 047
Mr. Ray Dolphin, Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, email@example.com, +972 54 331 1827
For media enquiries, please contact:
Ms.Hayat Abu-Saleh, Communications and Information Analyst, OCHA oPt, firstname.lastname@example.org, +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.