Gaza: INFORME SEMANAL DE SITUACIÓN (18-24 septiembre)23.09.2014
Actualización del 18 al 24 de septiembre de 2014
19 UNRWA school buildings continue to serve as Collective Centers for approximately 57,775 internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Despite international attention on Gaza being reduced, the situation in Gaza remains one of a protracted emergency. The blockade, in its eighth year, remains in place, severely curtailing the movement of goods and people. The blockade has crippled the local economy, resulting in high rates of poverty and food insecurity for the population of Gaza. Reflecting the dire situation in Gaza, media reports this week were covering the tragic deaths of an estimated dozens of Palestinians from Gaza, who are believed to have died when a boat they were on, bound for Italy, sunk off the coast of Libya. Media reports state that at least 1,000 Palestinians have left Gaza in the last three months, seeking safety and a decent standard of living in Europe.
UNRWA’s large- scale cash for work programme, the Job Creation Program (JCP), was pivotal in staffing the emergency response during recent hostilities.
3,720 contracts were awarded to Palestinians (20% going to women) in Gaza to fulfill roles related to the emergency response. This not only boosted the response capacity of UNRWA but also provided a much needed income at a time when this was most needed. JCP contracts were awarded for roles in areas as diverse as primary health care; psychosocial support; data collection and registration of IDPs; environmental health; safety and security; maintenance; packaging and distributing of food parcels; and distributing of water and fuel. For example, 91 doctors, 153 practical nurses and 56 health education workers were assigned to work in the collective centers to respond to urgent medical cases, conduct surveillance and monitoring of infectious diseases and provide health education. 720 laborers and packers were assigned to warehouses, distribution centers and packing centers to enable to distribution of food and non- food items.
Vulnerability Focal Points were deployed to each UNRWA Collective Centre this week to provide support to IDPs who face additional vulnerabilities in UNRWA Collective Centers. Vulnerabilities include factors such as disability, injury, separation from family members or a recent birth. Vulnerability Focal Points received training on how specific vulnerabilities such as disability impact on experiences of conflict and displacement; and were then deployed to work with Collective Centre management teams to ensure equal access to humanitarian assistance, facilitate the addressing of specific needs, and to promote participation by vulnerable and marginalized IDPs in decision making processes of Collective Centers. Vulnerability Focal Points are engaged on JCP contracts.
Some 241,000 children are now in their second week back at school. Following one week of dedicated psychosocial activities, the focus in schools is now on active learning and on the key skills and concepts of core school subjects, to enable children to adjust to the curriculum. With children still trying to cope with and make sense of their experiences during recent hostilities, recreational and psychosocial support activities remain important and are being integrated into children’s learning experience. Attendance rates at the start of the first week of school, while high, were lower than the average for other years (82-86%, compared to over 95%). Absences are due to reasons including students continuing to be displaced, being injured or travelling outside Gaza. UNRWA Education Department is following up on these students and at the end of the first week, attendance rates rose to over 90%. The total student numbers in UNRWA Schools this year have increased by 11,000 from the previous year.
UNRWA’s shelter assessment of Palestinian homes continues and already almost 6,257 homes have been assessed across the Gaza Strip. On 23 September, 165 engineers were engaged in these assessments across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA is continuing assessments of its installations that were damaged during the recent hostilities. UNRWA Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Programme (ICIP) teams have been visiting the damaged installations, assessing minor and severe damages since mid-July and as security permits. So far, an estimated 118 UNRWA installations have sustained damage during the conflict. The Palestinian Authority this week announced in the media that the total cost of Gaza reconstruction will be over $4 billion.
506 Palestinian children are now confirmed killed during the recent hostilities. The cumulative death toll among Palestinians is at least 2,158, including 260 women, according to the continued collection of preliminary data by the Protection Cluster from various sources. It is reported that the cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 71, of whom 66 were soldiers and one civilian fatality was a child.
Operational environment: The situation in Gaza remains tense. On 19 September IDF tanks and bulldozers entered Gaza east of Khan Younis for a clearing operation; on 22 September there was an incident of Israeli Navy opening fire towards Palestinian fishing boats; and on 23 September the IDF positioned at the border east of Khan Younis fired towards Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza continue to feel uncertain about the future, expressing concern about the unstable political and security environment and ongoing deterioration in the socioeconomic situation.
Information Systems Team Plays Key Role in UNRWA Humanitarian Response
At any time, but particularly during emergencies, it is vital for the Agency’s Gaza Field Office to be able to share information with staff in order to reach out to beneficiaries and maintain services such as health care and refugee registration. During the recent humanitarian emergency, UNRWA’s Information System Office (ISO) played a crucial rule in facilitating services to UNRWA beneficiaries, including emergency food distribution.
Generally, the ISO team is responsible for maintaining the Information Technology (IT) network in the Gaza Field Office as well as that of UNRWA installations throughout the Gaza Strip. In addition to conducting IT network maintenance services, the team’s daily work includes conducting network administration and technical services, as well as hosting a service helpdesk to address queries from staff.
The ISO team consists of twenty staff members in roles varying from administrative support to engineers and infrastructure specialists. The team is mainly based in the Gaza Field Office, but ISO staff will visit UNRWA installations such as schools, health centers and collective centers when network problems arise, including during times of conflict.
One of the ISO team members is Darwish Al-Helo. He is 37 years- old and works as a network administrator. Darwish says: «I live in close proximity to the UNRWA Gaza Field Office and I have worked during all the past conflicts. Despite this close proximity, it is difficult to go to work under emergency circumstances, but I prioritize my job because I believe my work indirectly serves the Palestine refugees and all those affected by the conflict.»
When asked about his team’s most significant contribution during the conflict, Darwish says: «The UNRWA IT network had been damaged as a result of larger damage to the cable infrastructure in Gaza. This affected the network connectivity between the Gaza Field Office and Beit Hanoun and Tuffah Distribution Centers in North Gaza. During a ceasefire, the team climbed and worked from the roofs of the two distribution centers in order to repair the cables. The ISO team managed to repair the cables and re-establish network connectivity. We were very happy to see that our work ultimately enabled families to receive their food rations.»
· Between 18 and 24 September, UNRWA continued to deliver truckloads of non- food items and food to Collective Centers. This food support is provided in cooperation with WFP.
· UNRWA, in cooperation with partners and donors, also continued daily distribution to the Collective Centers of potable water. In addition, non-potable water continues to be trucked by UNRWA, municipalities and contractors to the Collective Centers.
· As of 18 September, 24 Hygiene Committees, with 277 members, are active in the UNRWA Collective Centers. These Committees continue to conduct awareness sessions, focusing on cleanliness, usage of cleaning materials, best practices in water use, how to keep food from being contaminated, as well as how to treat lice and scabies and prevent diseases related to hygiene conditions.
· All 21 Health Centers continue to serve refugees and non-refugees. A total of 87,441 people visited the doctor at UNRWA Health Clinics and 5,175 had appointments with the dentist between 18 and 22 September.
· Between 18 and 22 September, a total of 1,217 tons of waste were removed from all of Gaza’s 8 camps.
· Between 18 and 22 September, the 11 water wells in Jabalia Camp (6), Beach Camp (3), Khan Younis Camp (1) and Rafah (1) supplied 44,005 cubic meters of water.
· Maintenance and repair works continue on UNRWA installations across the Gaza Strip.
SUMMARY OF MAJOR INCIDENTS
Tragically, three people were reported to have been killed and two injured when an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) exploded in a house in Shejayeh on 19 September.
Data on damage to UNRWA installations is based on preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification. UNRWA estimates that 118 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014.
The revised flash appeal can be found here.
· Rafah crossing was open for humanitarian cases and holders of visa for third countries
· On 20 September Erez was closed. On other days Erez crossing was open for National ID holders (humanitarian cases, medical cases, merchants and other holders of special permits) as well as foreign nationals including UN International staff.
· On 19 and 20 September Kerem Shalom was closed. On other days it operated as per schedule.