WFP State of Palestine Country Brief, June 2017
WFP assisted nearly 480,000 food insecure nonrefugees in Gaza and the West Bank in June, through both cash-based transfers (CBT) - using an electronic voucher redeemable in local shops - and in-kind food assistance. Women and children accounted for 70 percent of those assisted.
The unfolding electricity crisis in Gaza is exacerbating the dire living conditions of the impoverished enclave’s population. Every household in Gaza is hit, but the crisis take the heaviest toll on the most vulnerable and the poorest, including WFP assisted people, with no resolution in sight. Without additional funding, WFP will not be in capacity to assist all 92,000 voucher recipients from July onwards.
In June, WFP assisted 478,097 poor and food insecure people: 245,591 people in Gaza and 232,506 people in the West Bank with food and CBTs. WFP food assistance proved to be critical in meeting their immediate food needs and stabilising their dietary diversity, but also in protecting their livelihoods and mitigating the devastating and accumulative impact of decades of conflict on their socioeconomic status.
WFP and its local partner Ard El Insan completed the training of 3,200 women, 1,000 men and 1,500 primary school children on best health and nutritional practices in Gaza. The participants attended sessions over a period of six months, covering topics such as tackling micro-nutrient deficiencies, understanding the nutritional values of food and buying the most nutritious food on a budget. Since 2011, more than 12, 000 people, two-third of whom women, have benefitted from the training.
The humanitarian vulnerability of Gaza’s population has been exacerbated due to a dramatic deterioration in the energy situation, resulting in electricity blackouts of 20 hours per day. The energy crisis has eroded people’s purchasing power and increased the prices of basic essentials, including food. The poorest families, including those assisted by WFP, are the most affected. The coping mechanisms of WFP assisted people have deteriorated.
More people resorted to purchasing food on credit, reduced the quality and quantity of their meals and/or relied on support from friends and relatives.
Gaza is expected to suffer a lack of necessary food items, combined with a rise in some food prices during the upcoming summer season, due to lack of power and fuel for irrigation. The prices of fruits and vegetables have already soared in June, compared to April and May.
On June 13, WFP sent a press release calling for additional donor resources to meet the food needs of 92,000 poor food insecure people receiving electronic vouchers as available funding came to exhaustion at the end of June.
Funded and commissioned by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), WFP released a new market assessment report on the feasibility to further scale-up the use of cash-based transfers to respond to the food needs of Gaza’s population. The report can be consulted here.