The chronic impact of conflict and occupation on the economy and access to resources has left Palestinian families even more susceptible to sudden shocks, such as the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, home demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and natural hazards, including winter storms and floods. In Gaza, access to basic services, including education, health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), has significantly deteriorated. Damaged infrastructure from the 2014 war is not yet fully reconstructed and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) continue to pose a serious threat. The widespread destruction of water and wastewater infrastructure has exposed children to increased risk of waterborne illness. Chronic shortages of essential drugs continue to compromise an already exhausted health system. Palestinians in the West Bank remain subject to a complex system of control and bureaucratic barriers and the ability to build homes and infrastructure in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem is limited. Tensions increased in the West Bank in the latter part of 2015, with violence spreading to Israel and the wider West Bank in October, leading to the highest number of casualties recorded in a single month among West Bank Palestinians since 2005. The escalation has also led to a sharp increase in arrests and detentions, including of children, and increased restrictions on movement.
UNICEF will focus on protection, emergency preparedness and complementarity with national efforts in the most vulnerable communities, especially in Gaza, Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. UNICEF is supporting the rehabilitation of water and sewage systems in communities affected by the 2014 war in Gaza and the West Bank. Children affected by conflict will receive education supplies, school uniforms, shoes and remedial learning; adolescents will receive school learning and recreational programmes; and children crossing checkpoints in the West Bank will gain safe access to learning. UNICEF is also facilitating access to child protection services in Gaza, providing psychosocial support to children and families impacted by violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and providing ERW education in Gaza. Monitoring and reporting on grave violations will be strengthened, as will advocacy for improved protection of children in military detention. UNICEF is also building the capacity of partners on minimum standards for child protection in humanitarian action. UNICEF is supporting the provision of essential and life-saving paediatric medicines and medical consumables; micronutrient supplementation and infant and young child feeding for children and women in Gaza; and nutrition emergency preparedness in sentinel nutrition sites for enhanced screening of malnutrition.
Results from 2015
As of 31 October 2015, UNICEF had received 72 per cent (US$28.8 million) of its total humanitarian funding requirements, in addition to US$5.9 million carried forward from 2014. UNICEF provided essential drugs and medical supplies to five hospitals and 54 health care facilities in Gaza; and is procuring micronutrient supplementation for some 250,000 children. UNICEF and partners reached more than 60,000 mothers in Gaza with counselling on breastfeeding and infant feeding practices. UNICEF supported sustainable access to sanitation in Gaza for some 59,880 people through repairs to wastewater networks and the provision of generators at sewage pumping stations. The distribution of hygiene kits to conflict-affected families in Gaza is underway. UNICEF and partners provided tankered water to 25,000 people in the West Bank. UNICEF supported access to education for 28,000 conflict-affected children in Gaza through school rehabilitation and educational supplies. UNICEF and partners reached at least 43,000 children and adolescents with life skills and stress relief activities. UNICEF supported the protective accompaniment of 4,334 children and 333 teachers in Area C of the West Bank. Despite funding shortfalls, structured and focused psychosocial support, including individual and group counselling, were provided to some 54,098 children through 23 family centres in Gaza and emergency psychosocial support teams in East Jerusalem and Hebron.
Total affected children (under 18): 1 million
Total people to be reached in 2016: 450,000
Total children to be reached in 2016: 250,000
2016 programme targets
• 183,250 people (50 per cent children) in Gaza benefitted from access to water networks, improved sanitation and hygiene supplies
• 163,470 people (68,435 children) in the West Bank benefitted from increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation
Education and adolescents
• 92,600 school-aged children in Gaza and the West Bank benefitted from educational supplies and school uniforms
• 30,000 adolescents participated in community initiatives focused on addressing violence and building social cohesion
• 120,000 children (50 per cent girls) and 40,075 caregivers and community leaders in affected areas in Gaza and the West Bank benefitted from protection and/or psychosocial support activities
Health and nutrition
• 150,000 children in Gaza and the West Bank have access to life-saving drugs, essential drugs and consumables
• 125,000 children and 125,000 women in Gaza and West Bank have access to micronutrient supplementation
• 75,000 children and 30,000 women benefitted from malnutrition screening and referral in case of malnutrition
UNICEF is requesting US$41,924,871 to meet the humanitarian needs of children in the State of Palestine, including the needs outlined in the Humanitarian Response Plan, and an additional US$8 million to reach 21,000 children with remedial education, 80,000 children with WASH projects in vulnerable communities in the West Bank and 30,000 adolescents with after-school activities. Without additional funding, UNICEF will be unable to provide critical health and WASH services to affected communities. Funding is also urgently needed to ensure that children and caregivers in highly vulnerable areas have access to protection services, and that their right to education is not compromised.
1Delays were incurred due to an unforeseen vetting process of the community-based organization partners responsible for distributing the kits. The first batch of 7,000 hygiene kits (benefitting around 56,000 people) will be distributed by the end of 2015.
2 Target was updated to reflect the revision of the WASH Strategic Response Plan project sheet during the mid-year review.
3 The indicator was changed to reflect the number of incidents documented. Previously it was the number of children affected.
4 The target was exceeded due to increased interest in the project by students and the identification of additional potential beneficiaries.
5 The target was updated to reflect the revision of the health and nutrition Strategic Response Plan project sheet during the mid-year review.