An update on Gaza genocide
The following information is based on reports from member states, the UN Country Team for the occupied Palestinian territory, humanitarian partners, authorities involved in the humanitarian response, and the news media.
Death and injury toll as of December 16, 2009
Palestinian Fatalities: 1,155 including 370 were children (32%) and 85 women (7%)
Palestinians Injured: 5,015 including 1,745 children (35%) and percent 740 women (15%)
Israel has bombed the UN headquarters and three hospitals as their occupation forces continue to advance into Gaza City.
Up to 700 people were sheltering in the Al-Quds hospital in Gaza city’s southwestern Tal Al-Hawa district when it was bombarded by Israeli jets. White phosphorus shells set the hospital ablaze on Thursday morning.
Two other hospitals east of Gaza City were also hit by Israeli shells as their tanks advanced into the city. The number of casualties is not yet known.
The Israeli tanks also shelled at a UN compound in Gaza City, setting fire to warehouses of desperately-needed food and medical supplies, and injuring. At least 2 civilians and three UN staff.
After heavy shelling and air strikes in Gaza on 15 January, a large number of civilians are now trapped in their homes, while thousands more are seeking refuge with host families and in UNRWA emergency shelters. In response to warnings from the Israeli army to evacuate their homes, many Palestinians are also fleeing to urban centers. Supplies of essential commodities such as food, cooking gas, water and fuel are at critically low levels, while water, sanitation and electrical infrastructure have all sustained further damage during the continued fighting.
UN Casualties in Gaza since 27 December (including UNRWA Staff, UNRWA Contractors, WFP Contractors)
Humanitarian Installations/Convoys hit in Gaza since 27 December
UN Buildings: 49
UN Compounds: 1
NGO Installations: 1
NGO Compounds: Several
- On 15 January, the Palestinian Petroleum Corporation reported that its office at Nahal Oz was damaged by Israeli bulldozers, though the fuel depots were not damaged.
- In December 2005, an average of 631 trucks per day entered Gaza. In May 2007, 475 trucks per day entered. Since 27 December 2008, an average of 73 trucks per day crossed into Gaza at Kerem Shalom.
Despite the incident on 15 January, UNRWA still operated ten food distribution centres and distributed rations to 696 households. WFP did not distribute food on 15 January but was able to distribute 5,600 kgs of bread on 14 January.
WFP launched Operation Lifeline Gaza on 16 January, which is a one-year emergency operation to provide food assistance to 100,000 people, which increases the total food assistance caseload to 365,000 (24 percent of the population of Gaza).
[Note: The population of Gaza Strip is about 1.5 million with an estimated 300,000 households!]
- The health system continues to deal with mass casualties and the infrastructure was further compromised when three hospitals were hit during the fighting on 15 January. The ICRC noted that the damage caused by shelling of the Al Quds hospital on 15 January was, “completely and utterly unacceptable based on every known standard of international humanitarian law”. According to the Palestinian MoH, since 27 December, 13 medical personnel have been killed and 22 have been injured while on duty. Sixteen ambulances and 16 health facilities have also been damaged through direct or indirect shelling.
- The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that they receive an average of 130 appeals per day to evacuate wounded individuals; however, Israeli authorities have not approved entry into several areas, particularly in northern Gaza, for several days. The ICRC, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Humanitarian Coordinator have publicly expressed their concerns regarding continued constraints to medical teams’ freedom of movement within Gaza, and the lack of respect of health facilities during fighting.
- According to the UNFPA, an average of 150-170 babies are born every day in the Gaza Strip; since 27 December, an estimated total of 3,150-3,570 babies have been born in Gaza. UNFPA has expressed serious concern over reports of premature labor and delivery caused by shock and trauma related to the ongoing fighting. They expressed further concern regarding the exposure of premature and newborn infants to hypothermia, due to the lack of electricity. There are also concerns about access to medical facilities for those women who must deliver by c-section.
- WHO reported that 37 of the 56 Palestinian MoH-managed primary health care centers and two NGO-run centers are functioning, however, there are major interruptions to services due to insecurity. WHO reported that there has been an interruption of treatment for approximately 40 percent of chronically ill patients.
Water and Sanitation
The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) has not been able to assess the impact of damage incurred at the Gaza City Wastewater Treatment Plant during the fighting on 15 January, though there are initial reports that a stream of sewage is flowing from the plant. The CMWU delivered 2,000 litres of fuel to the Beit Lahia Wastewater Treatment Plant which will allow it to function for one week.
Shelter and Non-Food Items
- No. of people seeking refuge in UNRWA Emergency Shelter [January 14,2009]: Over 45,000 (including 25,300 children)
- No. of UNRWA Emergency Shelters: 49
- Increase in number of people since the previous day [13 January]: At least 4,331
UNRWA has opened eight additional emergency shelters each of which is accommodating approximately 1,000 people, which is twice their capacity. However, the majority of displaced people (the total number of which is unknown) are staying with host families.
Infrastructure, Fuel & Electricity
A significant portion of households do not have electricity, in particular those in Gaza City. During the offensive on 15 January, two electrical lines from Israel were destroyed. Israeli forces also destroyed feeder lines from the Gaza Power Plant.
Ceasefire: Only an immediate ceasefire will be able to address the severe humanitarian and protection crisis that the population of Gaza is faced with.
Protection: Compliance with international humanitarian law is essential to enhance security for civilians within Gaza, allow civilians freedom of movement to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to distribute assistance.
Access: A sustained re-opening of all crossings into Gaza is required to meet assistance needs. Improved humanitarian access into Gaza is also required for humanitarian staff, particularly for NGO staff. Increased security and improved access within Gaza is essential for civilians to reach lifesaving services, and for humanitarian actors to
Electricity & Fuel: Much of the population of Gaza continues to live without electricity. Hospitals require fuel to run generators on which they rely; water and sanitation facilities require fuel to operate; and households and bakeries require cooking gas.
Wheat grain: Wheat grain is urgently needed for local bakeries and for humanitarian food distributions.
Cash: Cash has still not entered the Gaza Strip and is urgently needed. A system must be established that ensures the regular and predictable monthly transfer of the necessary cash – not only for the international organisations to be able to deliver much needed humanitarian assistance, but also in order to pay the salaries of
Palestinian Authority personnel.