Fundamental Human Rights

The Right to a Sustainable Future [Filtered & blocked by Google!]

Gaza Situation Report #19

Posted by terres on February 1, 2009

Occupied Palestinian Territory • Gaza

Situation Report #19 – 30 January 2009


  • Flash Appeal for USD 613 million to support 1.4 million Gazans will be launched on 2 February in Geneva.
  • Two people were killed and 12 injured, including seven school children, in recent incidents.
  • Flow of aid and staff into Gaza remains insufficient.
  • The number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza daily is insufficient to meet daily requirements. Staff of humanitarian organizations also continue to face serious restrictions to entering Gaza, which is impacting response efforts.

A Palestinian man builds a makeshift house on the ruins of his house destroyed during Israel’s offensive in Jabalya, northern Gaza Strip, January 25, 2009. Some 1,300 Palestinians, including at least 700 civilians were killed, Palestinian medical officials said, in the 22-day offensive Israel launched in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with the declared aim of ending cross-border rocket attacks. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen (GAZA). Image may be subject to copyright.

As of the morning of 28 January, there were approximately 30 international NGO staff members working in Gaza and approximately 22 UN international staff members. There are currently outstanding requests for over 200 people to enter Gaza, and this number is increasing daily. The Association of International Development Agencies stated that, “it is unacceptable that staff of international aid agencies with the expertise in emergency response are still not given full access into Gaza, and that the crossings are not fully operational for humanitarian and commercial goods.”

WFP noted that at least 25 trucks per day would be required to cross into Gaza to meet food assistance needs. Authorities at the Israeli Coordinator of Government activities in the Territories (CoGAT) highlighted that the current capacity of Kerem Shalom crossing is 120 trucks/day; therefore careful prioritization of the flow of aid into Gaza is required to meet all of the urgent needs. On 28 January, WFP reported that there was a backlog of 21 WFP truckloads waiting to cross into Gaza at Karem Shalom.

Hospitals and much of their medical equipment is in need of urgent repairs. The recent fighting exacerbated the conditions of the health infrastructure, which had already deteriorated after 18 months of closures of crossings which prevented the necessary maintenance. The import of spare parts remains a priority. ICRC also reported that there is an urgent need for heavy painkillers and medicines for cancer patients and those with bleeding disorders.

Agencies supporting those with disabilities estimate that half of those injured during the fighting may suffer life-long impairment and have underscored the importance of providing early intervention, including specialized rehabilitation. Al Wafa Hospital, the primary provided of such services is not yet fully operational after sustaining severe damage during the fighting. WHO and the Palestinian MoH Operations Room are coordinating with doctors and NGOs before deploying more health personnel into Gaza to ensure that specialty needs are met. IOM plans to facilitate the return of patients who had been evacuated, as their conditions permit.

A Palestinian boy keeps warm by the wreckage of his family’s destroyed home in Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (GAZA).
Image may be subject to copyright.

Food and Nutrition
There is a limited amount of food available in Gaza and prices have doubled or tripled since before 27 December. On 28 January, WFP distributed 59 MTs of food to 877 households with the implementing partner CHF International. They also distributed 5.4 MTs of food to over 21,000 school children. The number of people receiving food aid in Gaza is now 1.3 million.

Emergency Shelter
Between 22-25 January, international and local NGOs conducted a joint rapid needs assessment of the level of damage to housing units and the numbers of people displaced from their homes in all localities and neighborhoods in Gaza.

Preliminary reports from 48 of the 61 localities suggest that 22.6 percent of housing units were damaged or destroyed, of which 16.7 percent had moderate damage, 3.2 percent had severe damage and 2.6 percent were completely destroyed. Over 66,000 people remain displaced in these localities, hosted by families whose resources are increasingly overstretched. IOM reported that a total of 21,000 homes in Gaza were destroyed or badly damaged (approximately 13 percent of the total housing stock).
ICRC and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) provided essential supplies for nearly 19,500 persons whose houses were fully or partially destroyed, and plastic sheeting for more than 48,000 persons.

Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Seventy percent of water wells are functioning, though 10,000 people remain without access to water. Following some emergency repairs, sewage is no longer leaking into the streets in Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia.

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that water pipes damaged during the fighting are at risk of contamination from sewage. Furthermore, Gaza is at risk from groundwater contamination by sewage as the sandy soil easily absorbs water and any sewage leakages. Restrictions on the goods that can cross into
Gaza are impeding the repair of the sewage and water systems .

The CMWU currently has a list of prioritized items, including pipes, generators and pumps awaiting clearance from the Israeli authorities for entry into Gaza. Humanitarian organizations, including Action Contre la Faim (ACF), CARE, ICRC, Oxfam and UNICEF are providing drinking water and supporting CMWU to perform urgent repairs.

The supply of electricity has returned to the same status that existed before 27 December and most of Gaza is receiving intermittent electricity. However, many low-voltage lines that provide electricity directly to households are still not functioning. Currently 202 MW out of a total demand for 225-240 MW is being supplied. To increase the supply of electricity, 38 transformers are required, though the utility company is awaiting permission from the Israelis to allow these to cross into Gaza.

FAO reported that almost all of Gaza’s 13,000 households that depend on farming, herding and fishing have suffered damage to their assets during the recent fighting. Many farms, according to FAO have been completely destroyed. This has impacted the food production, which had already been constrained by 18 months of border closures that prohibited the import and export of goods. FAO expects an increase in food insecurity as households increasingly rely on food aid or are coping by consuming less nutritious foods. FAO is planning emergency agricultural rehabilitation interventions to assist 27,500 people in the most vulnerable farming families.

A Flash Appeal for USD 613 million will be launched on 2 February in Geneva to meet the emergency relief and early recovery needs of 1.4 million people in Gaza. The Appeal includes 98 NGO and 73 UN projects. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Secretary General of the United Nations noted that in supporting the appeal, “the world can help overcome at least some measure of [Gazans’] hardship.” He stressed that, “without urgent action, Gaza faces an even greater humanitarian calamity.”  Read Full Report Here.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

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