Occupied Palestinian Territory: Gaza Emergency Situation Report (as of 17 July 2014, 1500 hrs)

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 17 Jul 2014

Highlights

• A temporary humanitarian pause took place today from 10:00 to 15:00 today, the first halt in hostilities since 7 July.

• The Palestinian fatality toll since the start of the emergency is now 230.
According to preliminary information, at least 74 percent (171 people) are civilians.

• An estimated 57,900 children who have experienced death, injury or loss of home over the past ten days require direct and specialized psychosocial support (PSS).

• 22,900 persons hosted at UNRWA shelters are in need of emergency food assistance.

• Only between 50 to 60 per cent of pumped water is being supplied to households due to damage to critical WASH facilities.

• Latest development: 22:30 17 July. Reports from Gaza and from media sources indicate that an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza has begun.

230 Palestinians killed, including at least 171 civilians, of whom 48 are children and 31 women

1,764 Palestinians injured, of whom 521 are children and 372 women

1,780 Displaced families whose homes have been destroyed or severely damaged. 22,900 Displaced people hosted at 24 UNRWA schools

50% Of sewage pumping and treatment centres no longer operating.

Situation Overview

As the Gaza emergency enters its tenth day, a UN-initiated humanitarian pause took place from 10:00 to 15:00 today. The temporary pause held despite limited fire from Gaza at southern Israel and Israeli shells in response during the designated period.

Today’s humanitarian pause, the first negotiated break in hostilities since the emergency began on 7 July, allowed Gaza residents to leave their homes and shelters and stock up on basic food items and other necessities. Streets were quickly filled with people and vehicles and shops and markets opened. Banks and ATMs were operational but unable to cope with demand, leading to arguments and altercations in some branches. Patients were also to visit health centres for the first time for regular non-emergency appointments. Food security members were able to assess damage to agricultural land for the first time since the start of the operation. Farmers were also able to harvest some crops and bring them to the markets, where fresh fruit and vegetables were in short supply.

The pause allowed for the removal of accumulated garbage and the initial clearing away of rubble, and for utility workers to carry out maintenance repairs. Staff with the main water utility in Gaza (CMWU) and the electricity provider (GEDCO) deployed several teams simultaneously, to carry out repairs of damaged infrastructure. However, due to the lack of progress on the repairs on two electricity feeder lines on the Israeli side, power outages continued in some areas.

The pause also allowed humanitarian workers to conduct field visits in safety and to begin the first detailed assessment of damage and needs since the emergency began, as reflected in the cluster updates below.

This is the third major military confrontation in Gaza in six years and civilians have borne the brunt each time. They are paying the price for a collective failure to break the cycle of violence and reach a lasting political solution.
Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, 16 July 2014.

Prior to the five hour pause, hostilities continued over night, with intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza by air, land and sea, resulting in another 23 Palestinians killed in the reporting period. In one widely reported incident, a group of seven children from the Bakr family were struck by a missile strike while playing football on a beach in Gaza city. Four boys aged 10 to 11 were killed and an eight-year-old boy seriously injured. The Israeli military has announced an investigation into the incident.

The Palestinian fatality toll since the start of the emergency is now 230.According to preliminary information, at least 74 percent (171 people) are civilians, including 48 children and 31 women, 17 per cent (39 people) are members of armed groups, and the status of the remainder (20 people) cannot be determined as yet.3 According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 1,764 Palestinians, including 521 children and 372 women, had been injured as of midday on 17 July. The large proportion of civilians among the fatalities continues to raise concerns about respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack under international humanitarian law.

Indiscriminate firing by Palestinian armed groups in Gaza into Israel also continued during the past 24 hours with most falling in open areas or intercepted by the Iron Dome system. Rocket fire byPalestinian armed groups has so far resulted in one Israeli civilian fatality and at least 11, and possibly up to 26, civilians directly injured by rockets or shrapnel, based on various Israeli media reports.. Today, UNRWA announced the discovery, on 16 July, of approximately 20 rockets hidden in one of its vacant schools in the course of a regular inspection of its premises. UNRWA has strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations as a “flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”

Updates on Gaza Crossings

Erez: Functioning and processing passengers as per permitted categories.

Beit Hanoun (Arba-Arba): The authorities in Gaza announced that they would keep the crossing open during the humanitarian pause, 10:00 – 15:00.

Kerem Shalom: Closed earlier this morning due to a security incident. Reopened at 13:00 and closed again at 13:30 due to security incident. Yesterday 68 trucks entered in addition to 642,000 litres of fuel. Although usually closed on Fridays, CLA Erez stated its willingness to keep the crossing open tomorrow provided there is a critical need for imports.

Rafah: Open for medical evacuations, foreign and dual nationals and Egyptian passport holders. The Egyptian authorities informed the UN Access Coordination Unit (ACU) that they will be processing up to six busses of eligible passengers per day to exit Gaza, provided the crossing is open. Six trucks of food and medical supplies, one ambulance and 48 personnel for United Arab Emirates hospital entered yesterday together with additional 18 trucks of food and medical supplies donated by Egypt and the Arab Medical Union.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.