Flash Update #04: Situation in the occupied Palestinian territory: Crisis impact in the Gaza Strip, Humanitarian interventions and We World coordination


In the aftermath of the escalation in Gaza between the Israeli Army and Hamas, along with other armed groups, all Humanitarian actors jointly engaged in coordinating the Humanitarian Emergency Response and Early Recovery Plan. On the 27th of May, an Inter-Agency Flash Appeal was launched by the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt and Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, requesting US$95 million to support the emergency response over the next three months. This would reach 1.1 million Palestinians, and add to the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan, as well as the long-term recovery and reconstruction of Gaza.

So far only 13% of the amount requested for the Flash Appeal has been raised. All coordination and intervention efforts are channelled through the UN OCHA Cluster system. In-depth sectorial assessments are ongoing in areas of protection, health, water and sanitation, education and food security. We World has actively contributed to the identification of needs, especially within the WASH Cluster.

Infrastructure: Extensive damage to residential and commercial buildings, schools and infrastructure has been reported, including main roads (some of which lead to the hospitals), electricity networks, water installations and agricultural lands. Overall, 15.130 housing structures suffered different degrees of damage; with 258 buildings, comprising of 1.148 housing and commercial units, 141 government schools and 33 health facilities that are totally destroyed. Assessments by specific Clusters are still ongoing.

Displacement: At least 8.500 people are still displaced, of which 235 people are still sheltered in 2 UNRWA schools while others are staying at host families.

Health: At least 33 health facilities in the Strip were damaged. By the end of the conflict, 28 out of 30 hospitals in Gaza are functioning with limited capacity. The risk of Covid-19 transmission has increased, as the main dedicated facilities have suffered major damage. The need for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for both children and adults in Gaza increased significantly, while health workers themselves are experiencing distress. The Health Cluster assessment is ongoing to identify damages, capacity and needs.

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH): More than 100 Water and Sanitation facilities sustained heavy damage – e.g. wastewater networks, pipelines, wells, a wastewater pumping station, sewer pressure pipelines, desalination plants among the others. The Gaza Power Plant is working at a limited capacity due to the lack of fuel. This shortage, combined with infrastructural damages, has impacted an estimated 400,000 people’s irregular access to piped water. The water supply per capita, previously corresponding to 82 l/c/d, dropped by an estimated 20-41 l/c/d, depending on the area. WASH priority needs identified: emergency fuel, hygiene materials, WASH facilities’ rehabilitation, trucked water delivery, solid waste collection, and wastewater cleaning, as well as chlorine and operation chemicals for critical WASH facilities.

Education: Over 100 education facilities suffered damage, disrupting the learning of 600,000 students. This includes around 59 UNWRA schools, of which 2 are still hosting IDPs. Governmental and UNWRA schools concluded the year due to continuous electricity cuts and damages to school infrastructure. An assessment by the Education Cluster around the damage in Gaza’s schools is ongoing. Education priority needs identified: resuming remote or in-person learning, repairing rehabilitating education facilities (including UNWRA schools that were used as temporary shelters), supporting students’ mental health.

Access: Overall, administrative access restrictions still represent a major challenge. At Erez Crossing, only urgent medical cases are allowed to pass through, while in Kerem Shalom only specific basic commodities, including fodder and medical supplies, as well as fuel for the private sector and for UNRWA, are allowed. Yet, there are still severe shortages in fuel, animal fodder, essential drugs, construction materials and humanitarian goods.

Read more about the situation in Gaza, the West Bank and beyond, in our latest Flash Update following the outbreak of hostilities in May.