Gaza Emergency: Daily Situation Reports


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GAZA SITUATION REPORT (ISSUE NO 06) – July 14, 2014

Due to the dramatic escalation in violence over the past few days and the massive assault on Gaza, UNRWA has declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. It is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to mount an emergency response should that become necessary. The priority for the Agency has now shifted to emergency operations, providing assistance to those who have been displaced and sought shelter in UNRWA schools, while attempting to continue regular operations. Urgent funding needs persist and are increasing.

Past 24 hours:

The impact of the ongoing conflict on civilians continues to be devastating for communities in the Gaza Strip. At the time of reporting 17,000 distraught people had fled their homes in Northern Gaza, to shelter in 20 UNRWA schools in Gaza City and the North Area. In addition, there were almost 300 people requesting temporary shelter in the Middle Area.

It is reported that in the North Area of Gaza, the IDF continues to send SMS phone messages requesting people to leave their houses to a safer place. Reportedly, the local mosques are asking communities not to relocate. This is a time of incredible uncertainty, turmoil and suffering for the women, men and children of Gaza.

UNRWA very much fears that preparations for a ground offensive will imminently lead to large-scale displacement from areas near the fence with Israel. History has shown that this would have enormous impact on Gazan civilians, including significant damage to shelters and infrastructure, in addition to displacement and massive disruption to the economy.

UNRWA’s preparedness levels are high but history shows that the organization can expect to shelter up to 50,000 displaced Gazans in its schools if a ground invasion occurs. Yet, the organisation holds NFI stock for less than 35,000, a legacy of scarce financial resources that did not allow UNRWA to replenish contingency supplies after the devastating flooding in December, 2013. As well as the essential non food item stocks now being provided, the displacement of Gazan families has resulted in the need to provide additional food assistance. UNRWA has an existing partnership with WFP to provide food, but there is an urgent need for more funding to complete the food basket in shelters.

Streets in the Gaza Strip remain empty and banks are still closed. On July 13 in the North Area, IDF shelling reportedly restricted the movement of people on the streets, and caused electricity cuts in a number of locations.

Over the past 24 hours, 9 deaths and 33 injuries have been reported. Amongst the dead are two woman and five children – all boys. At least 32 children have been reportedly killed since Tuesday, 8 July.

UNRWA RESPONSE

  • The situation in the Gaza strip is increasingly precarious for all five Areas. Gaza Field Office remains in close and frequent contact with each of its Area Emergency teams.
  • By 08.00 on 13 July, twenty emergency shelters had been opened by UNRWA in local schools in Gaza, housing approximately 17,000 people. In addition to shelters, and as UNRWA has always done in the past, it also stands ready to provide whatever emergency assistance it can, should the situation deteriorate even further.
  • UNRWA’s food distribution continued and food rations were provided to 15,919 beneficiaries through 9 distribution centres.
  • Emergency fuel distribution to critical environmental health facilities took place yesterday. In all, 40,765 L of diesel was distributed, predominately to ensure water pumping stations and sewage treatment plants could function when the power is off.
  • Regular UNRWA operations continue. Most health clinics remain operational and all regular UNRWA services remain available. On 13 July, 6,474 people visited UNRWA health clinics in Gaza, including more than 500 children who received their regular check up and/or immunization vaccinations.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS

Reportedly, 294 missiles were fired by Israel to the Gaza Strip. 214 rockets and 30 mortars were fired towards Israel. The Israeli navy fired 200 shells at targets in Gaza, and it is reported that 55 houses in Gaza were bombarded by Israel. IDF positioned at the border fired 47 artillery and tank shells.

There were 9 deaths and 33 injuries reported. This takes the reported total death toll since Tuesday, to 174, with approximately 1,152 injured. Reports indicate that at least 32 children have been killed over this time period.

UNRWA INSTALLATIONS

A total of 49 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014.

In the past 24 hours, three UNRWA installations were damaged. All of these were schools, two in the Middle Area and one in Khan Younis.

FUNDING NEEDS

Although operations for UNRWA continue in all five Areas, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the $22 million 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 non-food items ($1 million).

CROSSINGS

  • Rafah crossing was closed.
  • Erez was open for internationals and humanitarian cases.
  • Kerem Shalom was open for fuel and food deliveries. UNRWA received 18 trucks of food.

BACKGROUND:

Following the escalation in violence between Gaza and Israel in November 2012 an understanding was reached between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Egypt. 2013 was subsequently the quietest year in a decade, in terms of hostilities between Israel and Gaza. Events in 2014, however, have led to a profound deterioration in the situation.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza entered its 8th year in June 2014 and continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain severely restricted. The economy and its capacity to create jobs has been devastated, with the majority of the population becoming dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from less than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 today.

Gaza: Facts and Figures

1.2 million refugees
8 refugee camps
Over 12,000 staff
245 schools for more than 230,000 students
21 health centres
12 food distribution centres for more than 830,000 refugees
Living under a tightened land and sea blockade since 2007
Shattered local economy

GAZA SITUATION REPORT (ISSUE NO 05) – July 13, 2014

Due to the dramatic escalation in violence over the past few days and the massive assault on Gaza, UNRWA has declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. It is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to mount an emergency response should that become necessary. The priority for the Agency has now shifted to emergency operations, providing assistance to those who have been displaced and sought shelter in UNRWA schools, while attempting to continue regular operations. Urgent funding needs persist and are increasing.

Past 24 hours:

The impact of the ongoing conflict on civilians has today taken a significant turn. Thousands of people have been internally displaced as they escape airstrikes affecting their homes and neighbourhoods or respond to leaflets distributed by Israel telling them to leave their homes. Over the past 24 hours UNRWA opened a number of its schools as emergency shelters for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). As of 8.00am five shelters are open in Gaza, already utilised by 2,000 people. At the time of reporting this number was rising by the minute.

On 12 July, communities in the North, where the security situation is particularly precarious, received leaflets from the IDF asking them to leave their houses. Distraught families from Al Atatra Area (West Beit Lahia) evacuated to UNRWA schools in the Gaza Area, where they were provided with shelter. Some refugees report that this is the third time they have displaced to these schools in the past five years, sometimes to the very same classroom.

In Rafah, southern Gaza, seven families sought protection from a warning missile in a nearby neighbourhood. The situation also remains tense in Khan Younis, where there has been loss of life and injuries after several houses were destroyed, and 20 damaged as a result of airstrikes and other fire.

The toll on civilians was also tragically apparent when a rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities was impacted by airstrikes. The Mabarrat Filistine Association in Bet Lahia, North Area, Gaza reported two deaths, both disabled female patients, and four injuries.

Public services continued to be hit hard over the past 24 hours. An alarming development is the alleged targeting of Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) operation teams. The CMWU provides water and sanitation services to communities in the Gaza Strip. Two team members were killed by airstrikes in al Bureij two days ago and this morning, two were reported to be directly targeted by an Israeli missile during their routine field operation, conducted in cooperation with the Gaza team in Rafah. One of the two operators sustained severe head injuries and is in critical condition.

As at 13 July, the CMWU has taken measures to protect its staff – including municipal employees – from further danger by suspending all its field operations. This includes all routine operations and maintenance work in water and wastewater facilities across all five Areas of the Gaza Strip.

If operations are suspended for any length of time, the CMWU fears it will expose Palestinians in Gaza to health and environmental disasters in addition to the current vulnerable conditions people are experiencing as a result of the escalation of conflict.

The water crisis is an existential threat to the Gaza Strip as a livable place, even without the current conflict. The Gaza aquifer could become unusable as early as 2016, with the damage irreversible by 2020. Currently, over 90% of the water extracted from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption, and only 15 – 25 per cent of households receive running water every day. 75-90 per cent of Gazans already depend upon private water vendors for their drinking water supplies. In addition, some 90 million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are dumped into the sea off the Gaza coast each day. Ceasing of CMWU operations only exacerbates this dire situation.

Whilst electricity lines that were down in Gaza have been reportedly repaired, electricity in the North Area is still interrupted as a result of additional lines being struck in recent days.

Over the past 24 hours, 45 deaths and 131 injuries have been reported. Amongst the dead are seven woman and five children – all boys. At least 32 children have been killed since Tuesday, 8 July.

UNRWA RESPONSE

  • The situation in the Gaza strip remains devastating and unpredictable. Gaza Field Office is in close and frequent contact with each of its five Area field teams.
  • By 8.00 in 12 July, five emergency shelters had been opened by UNRWA in local schools in Gaza, housing approximately 2,000 people. In addition to shelters, and as UNRWA has always done in the past, it also stands ready to provide whatever emergency assistance it can, should the situation deteriorate even further.
  • Emergency fuel distribution to critical environmental health facilities took place yesterday. In all, 28,013 L of diesel were distributed to ensure water pumping stations and sewage treatment plants could function when the power is off.
  • Regular UNRWA operations continue. Most health clinics remain operational and all regular UNRWA services remain available. On 12 July, 5,936 people visited UNRWA health clinics in Gaza, including hundreds of children who received their immunization vaccinations.

SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS

Reportedly, 235 missiles were fired by Israel to the Gaza Strip. 166 rockets and were fired towards Israel. It was reported that the Israeli navy fired 76 shells at targets in Gaza, and 39 houses in Gaza were bombarded by Israel. IDF positioned at the border, reportedly fired 186 tank shells.

There were 45 deaths and 131 injuries reported. This takes the reported total death toll since Tuesday, to 166, with more than 1,100 injured. Reports indicate that at least 32 children have been killed over this time period.

UNRWA INSTALLATIONS

A total of 49 UNRWA installations have been damaged since 1 June, 2014.

In the past 24 hours, nine UNRWA installations were damaged. All of these were schools, in Gaza, Middle, North and Rafah Areas.

FUNDING NEEDS

Although operations for UNRWA continue in all five Areas, there is an urgent need for funding to cover the $22 million 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 non-food items ($1 million).

CROSSINGS

  • Rafah crossing was closed, except for the wounded.
  • Erez was closed.
  • Kerem Shalom was closed.

BACKGROUND:

Following the escalation in violence between Gaza and Israel in November 2012 an understanding was reached between Hamas and Israel, mediated by Egypt. 2013 was subsequently the quietest year in a decade, in terms of violence between Israel and Gaza. Relative calm began to break down at the end of 2013, and any remnants have been shattered since the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank on 12 June, and then the murder of a Palestinian teenager from Shuafat on 2 July.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza entered its 8th year in June 2014 and continues to have a devastating effect as access to markets and people’s movement to and from the Gaza Strip remain virtually banned. The economy and its capacity to create jobs has been devastated, with the majority of the population becoming dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs. The number of Palestine refugees relying on UNRWA for food aid has increased from less than 80,000 in 2000 to over 830,000 today.

All of this sits against the backdrop of a governance vacuum in Gaza. There was hope for positive change after the 2 June 2014 formation of a National Consensus Government (NCG), but effective control was never established.

Gaza: Facts and Figures

1.2 million refugees
8 refugee camps
Over 12,000 staff
245 schools for more than 230,000 students
21 health centres
12 food distribution centres for more than 830,000 refugees
Living under a tightened land and sea blockade since 2007
Shattered local economy

For the past 66 years, UNRWA has stood with the refugees of Palestine through both calm and conflict, and right now we’re asking you to stand with us. Please help us provide the people of Gaza with the emergency support, protection, and relief that is necessary to survive during this terrifying time. 

Click to read UNRWA’s Daily Gaza Situation Report

Click here to read UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl’s press briefing from Gaza (July 14, 2014)

American Friends of UNRWA is a 501c(3) tax-exempt organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Our tax-exempt number is 20-2714426.

 

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