This report is produced by OCHA oPt in collaboration with humanitarian partners. It covers the perid from 31 July (1500 hrs) to 1 August (1500 hrs). The next report will be issued on 2 August.
However, the cessation was short-lived. According to Israeli sources, the ceasefire broke down when militants attacked the Israeli military in Rafah, killing two soldiers and capturing another. Hostilities resumed and escalated with reports of large numbers of Palestinians fatalities in Rafah. No significant humanitarian operations could take place during the brief pause, including urgently needed repairs to damaged water and electricity infrastructure; a complete recovery of bodies from under the rubble; and distribution of food and water to IDPs and other people in need. With no location now perceived as safe and immune from attack, the resumption of hostilities is fueling further frustration and hopelessness and despair among the civilian population and placing additional strain on the humanitarian community's capacity to respond.
A 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire came into effect at 08:00 this morning after both Israel and Hamas agreed to a proposal by the United Nations and the United States. The retrieve allowed for shops and markets to open, and residents to leave their homes and shelters to stock up on food and other necessities. Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) planned to return for the first time in weeks to check up on their homes and salvage belongings, especially in those areas which had witnessed heavy conflict. Ambulance and rescue crews continued to search for missing people and to evacuate injured people and dead bodies.
As the ceasefire started, fishermen in Gaza City set out to sea for the first time since hostilities began on 8 July.
However, the cessation was short-lived. According to Israeli sources, the ceasefire broke down when militants attacked the Israeli military in Rafah, killing two soldiers and capturing another. Hostilities resumed and escalated with reports of large numbers of Palestinians fatalities in Rafah. No significant humanitarian operations could take place during the brief pause, including urgently needed repairs to damaged water and electricity infrastructure; a complete recovery of bodies from under the rubble; and distribution of food and water to IDPs and other people in need. With no location now perceived as safe and immune from attack, the resumption of hostilities is fueling further frustration and hopelessness and despair among the civilian population and placing additional strain on the humanitarian community’s capacity to respond.
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the situation in Gaza, 1 August 2014.
Hostilities and casualties
Hostilities continued right up to the start of the short-lived ceasefire.Since the launch of the Israeli military operation, hundreds of homes have reportedly been directly targeted by Israeli airstrikes, and it is estimated that at least 872 houses have been totally destroyed or severely damaged, causing civilian casualties. Human rights organizations have expressed serious concern regarding incidents where civilians or civilian objects have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes, in circumstances where there was allegedly no rocket fire or armed group activity in the close vicinity. Such cases raise concerns about the targeting of civilians, or the launching of indiscriminate attacks.
In this context, of increasing concern is the number of incidents since the onset of the emergency in which multiple members of the same family have been killed. Up to 30 July, at least 76 families have lost three or more family members in the same incident, for a total of 407 fatalities. During the reporting period, at least one such additional incident occurred (see box).
Since the last situation update, at least 66 persons, many of whose status still needs to be verified, have reportedly been killed. This brings the cumulative death toll among Palestinians to at least 1,439, according to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster from various sources, which includes 322 persons (22.4 per cent), who could not be identified or their status established. Of the fatalities whose identity and status could be verified (1,117), nearly 83 per cent (926 people) are believed to be civilians, including 286 children and 187 women, and 191 members of armed groups. According to the
A 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire came into effect at 08:00 this morning after both Israel and Hamas agreed to a proposal by the United Nations and the United States. The retrieve allowed for shops and markets to open, and residents to leave their homes and shelters to stock up on food and other necessities. Many internally displaced persons (IDPs) planned to return for the first time in weeks to check up on their homes and salvage belongings, especially in those areas which had witnessed heavy conflict. Ambulance and rescue crews continued to search for missing people and to evacuate injured people and dead bodies. As the ceasefire started, fishermen in Gaza City set out to sea for the first time since hostilities began on 8 July.
Palestinian Ministry of Health, as of 19:00 on 31 July, 8,265 Palestinians, including 2,502 children and 1,626 women aged 18 to 60, and 303 elderly have been injured.
However, these figures do not include the large number of Palestinians reported to have been killed and injured in Rafah in air, tank and artillery shelling in Rafah, following the killing of two soldiers and the reported capture of another this morning. Due to ongoing hostilities in the southern Gaza Strip, Protection Cluster partners have not been able to gather detailed information, however according to initial report, over 50 Palestinians have reportedly been killed and hundreds of others injured including people who had just returned to their homes after the ceasefire entered into effect.
Also of concern are continuing incidents where humanitarian relief personnel and objects have come under attack. At 06:15 this morning, IDF troops fired five shells at Omar Bin Al Khatab mosque, northeast of Jabalia, spraying a nearby UNRWA school with shrapnel, and injuring ten IDPs who were taking shelter there, including two in serious condition.
Indiscriminate firing by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza into southern and central Israel continued, with most falling in open areas or intercepted by the Iron Dome system. However, eight Israel civilians were wounded, three seriously, by mortars on 31 July. Since 8 July, three civilians in Israel have been killed, including one foreign national, and dozens directly injured by rockets or shrapnel. Seven soldiers were killed during the reporting period, bringing the number of Israeli military fatalities to 63. An Israeli soldier was reportedly captured on I August and has been formally designated as missing in action.
The collapse of the ceasefire dashed hopes of a return by IDPs to homes which are still inhabitable. The intensification of hostilities in Rafah has reportedly led to thousands of new IDPs moving to the western part of the city and to Khan Yunis, many moving to ten UNRWA schools where 30,000 are already taking refuge.
As of this afternoon, UNRWA was providing shelter to 253,211 persons in 90 shelters throughout the Gaza Strip, which represents an average of over 2,800 IDPs per shelter, which normally have the capacity to accommodate only 500 people. This is challenging the already stretched capacity of the agency to provide IDPs with basic necessities, maintain hygiene conditions,
and prevent the outbreak of epidemics such as scabies and lice. While showers in shelters have improved personal hygiene and decreased the risk of spread of disease, the situation in overcrowded shelters is becoming increasingly tense. Fights between families over water were reported on multiple occasions.
Another 18,000 IDPs are residing in 19 government schools, including one which opened yesterday, and other institutions. Approximately 7,000 IDPs are reportedly seeking refuge in public buildings/ informal shelters. The Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA) estimates that the number of persons staying with host families throughout the Gaza Strip could be as many as 200,000, meaning that, in total, one quarter of the Gaza population are displaced.
Key humanitarian priorities
Protection of civilians: ensuring respect for the IHL principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack.
Humanitarian space: increased access for humanitarian workers to carry out life-saving activities, for example, through regular and meaningful humanitarian pauses or corridors for the evacuation of the injured. This is needed among other reasons, to complete search and rescue operations in several areas, and repair critical water and electricity infrastructure.
Additional fuel supply: needed to operate backup generators at essential facilities, including water, sanitation and health, for longer hours.
Scale up response to IDPs: additional shelters are needed to reduce overcrowding and accommodate new IDPs, alongside the replenishment of food, water and hygiene materials, and NFI stocks. Assistance for IDPs living with host families also needs to be increased, particularly the provision of NFIs and water and hygiene kits.
Humanitarian needs and response
Will be included in tomorrow's situation report.
Gaps & Constraints
The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) continues its daily meetings, focusing primarily on the coordination of the IDP response and challenges related to humanitarian space. OCHA, UNRWA, Ministry of Social Affairs (MoSA), Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PCRS) and Internal Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continue the coordination of opening up additional government schools for IDP shelters.
On 1 August, the Minister of Social Affairs and Minister of Agriculture of the State of Palestine, H.E. Mr. Shawqi Issa and the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. James W. Rawley, launched the Gaza Crisis Appeal. The 2014 Gaza Crisis Appeal considers that the entire population of the Gaza Strip (1.8 million Palestinians) is affected by the hostilities in multiple ways. The Appeal focuses on supporting access to health and water as well as catering for the needs of the displaced people in Gaza, including food assistance, blankets and mattresses as well as psychosocial support. Assistance will be provided by UN agencies and international and local non-governmental organizations (NG0s). The Gaza Crisis Appeal presents a preliminary strategy of the humanitarian community to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs that have arisen as a result of the current emergency in the Gaza Strip, focusing on the groups that have been rendered the most vulnerable. This includes displaced persons, the injured, the elderly, children, women, and farmers and fishermen who have lost their livelihoods. The Gaza Crisis Appeal was developed in consultation with the State of Palestine, in order to ensure coherence with Palestinian strategies for response.
A number of bilateral contributions have already been received from donors who have provided funding for urgent needs in the most critical sectors.
UNRWA has issued its own emergency flash appeal which was revised up to US $187.6 million The amount requested will help UNRWA provide emergency assistance for a revised scenario of up to 250,000 people being displaced during a period of up to eight weeks. A portion of this funding will also be needed to start early recovery activities including shelter and installation repair upon cessation of hostilities.
The 2014 Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for the oPt has received US$ 170 million (43 per cent) out of a total request of US$ 390 million Nearly 90 per cent of 1.9 million vulnerable people targeted in the SRP are in Gaza. Gaza-specific projects have received 32 per cent of their requested funding.
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, seven project proposals were approved for a total of US$ 1.6 million• ACF's two projects to provide emergency shelter and NFIs and water, sanitation and hygiene to affected families; Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) project to support for the emergency needs of neonatal units in Gaza hospitals by procurement of essential drugs and disposables; Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC) emergency intervention to support the continuation of health services in the northern area of Gaza Strip by providing dedication fuel and consumables to Al Awda hospital, Dan Church Aid and PARC projects to provide food packages and hygiene kits to IDPs hosted in Shelters in Deir Al Balah ,Rafah and Khan Yunis; by and UNMAS' project for the management of ERW to reduce the risk posed to civilians. In addition, a proposal by Palestinian Medical Relief Society — PMRC for Emergency Intervention,(totalling US$ 249,845) to build community support teams in Gaza Strip, is under process.
A number of donors have come forward with expressions of interest or pledges for the ERF; thus far, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and Ireland have pledged US$ 1,002,369 and US$ 1,480,166 and US$ 402,130 and US$ 135,870 respectively. Further funding for the ERF is still being sought. UN humanitarian agencies, in cooperation with NGO partners are fmalizing an application to the CERF Rapid Response window covering urgent needs in food assistance, psychosocial support, WASH, rubble removal and critical drugs.
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