This report is produced by OCHA oPt in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the period from 10 July (1500 hrs) to 11 July (1500 hrs). The next report will be issued on 12 July.
The emergency in Gaza entered its fourth day. The past 24 hours have been characterized by an escalation in Israeli aerial and navy bombardments throughout the Gaza Strip, alongside an intensification of Palestinian rocket firing into Israel. Fears of an imminent ground operation in Gaza have been on the rise, as multiple communities in peripheral areas of the north, centre and south of the territory were contacted yesterday over the phone in recorded messages by the Israeli army, warning residents to evacuate their houses and move to nearby urban areas. While these calls have not so far triggered noticeable displacement, some 300,000 people could be affected.
Since the start of the military operation on 7 July, the Israeli military has carried out over 700 air raids, fired more than 1,100 missiles and 100 tank shells, and conducted some 330 naval shellings. These have resulted in the killing of 114 Palestinians, of whom more than two thirds (88 people) are civilians, including 30 children and 17 women, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources. Additionally, 680 Palestinians were injured, nearly two thirds of whom are children (221) and women (225), according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH).
Some of the attacks have raised concerns about the targeting of civilians and civilian objects, in violation of the principle of distinction under International Humanitarian Law (IHL). One such concern is related to the destruction of the homes of alleged members of armed groups: estimates by Palestinian human rights organizations range from 75 to 83 homes destroyed in these circumstances. In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to leave the targeted building, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.
It is estimated that since the start of the operation a total of 282 homes have been totally destroyed and another 260 were severely damaged by Israeli attacks, according to the Shelter Cluster. This has resulted in the displacement of 3,250 people, who are hosted by relatives and neighbors. Another 360 people living in areas heavily targeted have sought shelter in various schools across Gaza.
In another incident of concern today (11 July), at around midday, an Israeli warplane targeted a vehicle belonging to Al Bureij municipality, while it was on duty, killing two employees and injuring three bystanders, including a 9 year old child, who died several hours later of the wounds sustained. On the night of 10 July, Al-Wafa hospital in eastern Gaza city was hit directly during an Israeli attack, causing damage to the staircase.
Palestinian rocket firing at Israel during the past 24 hours has been the heaviest since the start of the escalation. Some 340 rockets targeted multiple localities across Israel, including the main population centers, such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and, for the first time, Haifa, in northern Israel. While most rockets were intercepted or landed in open areas, a few hit homes, cars and a fuel tanker near a gas station in the city of Ashdod. The latter attack resulted in the injury of three civilians. Since 7 July, Palestinian armed groups reportedly fired approximately 1,150 rockets and 80 mortars towards Israel.
The streets of Gaza remain mostly empty and almost all shops are closed, as well as most government institutions, except for medical facilities. While primary health care facilities remain open, the number of consultations has dropped as people remain fearful to leave their homes. Hospitals are providing only emergency services, while shortage of medical supplies and electricity continue.
The Erez passengers crossing and the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing continued functioning partially, as has been the case in previous days. The Rafah border crossing with Egypt was exceptionally opened yesterday and today to allow the evacuation of a limited number of wounded Palestinians. Access to the sea is prohibited and all fishing activity has stopped: 3,600 fishermen are currently unable to mantain their livelihoods. Farming areas have been targeted and destruction of agricultural livelihood has been reported.
Humanitarian needs and response
Movement restrictions caused by ongoing military operations are the main constraints for the delivery of the most urgent shelter/NFI items.
UNRWA only holds NFI stocks for fewer than 35,000 people, out of 50,000 who could potentially seek shelter in its schools.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Nothing to report
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) met today (11 July) in Jerusalem, in video conference with its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Gaza, to exchange information and assessments about the current situation and the emerging needs. Subsequently, HCT members briefed key donors and highlighted the most urgent funding needs. Yesterday (10 July), OCHA met with representatives of the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS), and discussed gaps in the ongoing emergency operations as well as modalities for strengthening coordination. As of today (11 July), the Palestinian Ministry of Health launched an operations room in Ramallah jointly managed with its branch in Gaza, to coordinate health related responses, including request and management of medical donations. The operations room will publish daily reports and act as the hub for communications, including with donors.
The 2014 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the oPt has received $164 million (42 per cent) out of a total request of $390 million. Nearly 90 per cent of 1.9 million vulnerable people targeted in the SRP are in Gaza. Less that 30 per cent of the funds requested for projects targeting Gaza specifically have been mobilized. Projects targeting Gaza and the West Bank jointly are fully funded, however, such projects only represent $68.2 million of the SRP total request. Funding across clusters has been uneven however, no clusters are on track with funding at the mid-year point with the exception of Coordination. Food Security interventions, which represent the bulk of humanitarian assistance in Gaza, are only 30 per cent funded.
The Emergency Response Fund (ERF) is an additional mechanism available to fund interventions in Gaza. While the ERF balance currently stands at $4 million, $2 million worth of proposals are already being processed to meet previous underfunded, critical SRP projects which are also covering critical sectors that support responses during the emergency. The ERF is therefore in urgent need of replenishment to ensure the fund's ability to provide rapid and flexible support to affected civilian populations.
Although operations for UNRWA continue in all areas, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the $22 million of UNRWA's Emergency Appeal shortfall, already projected by the Agency. Currently, the most urgent funding needs include funding to continue the food assistance programme and additional resources to procure additional non-food items ($1 million). A number of donors have already started working with clusters and partners to look into providing funding for urgent needs in the most critical sectors.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, +972 59 291 1047
Yehezkel Lein, Head of Analysis, Communications and Protection Unit, OCHA oPt, lein©un.org, +972 54 331 1809
For more information, please visit www.ochaopt.org