On 7 July 2014, the Israeli army launched a military operation code-named “Protective Edge”, in the Gaza Strip, following several weeks of escalation. The scale of destruction, devastation and displacement wreaked in the 50 days of conflict that ensued is unprecedented in Gaza, since at least the start of the Israeli occupation in 1967. Following several short- lived cease-fires, on 26 August, the parties to the conflict reached an open-ended cease-fire which has held to date.
On 13, 18 and 19 August, under the coordination of OCHA, a Multi-Cluster/Agency Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA) was carried out in Gaza with the aim of gathering baseline information on the needs arising from the military operation, and informing the humanitarian response. A 400-point questionnaire was developed and the assessment teams, drawn from the relevant clusters, UN agencies, NGOs, and line ministries visited all five governorates and 25 municipalities in Gaza. The list of informants included community leaders, NGOs, CBOs, mayors, teachers, youths, IDPs, health experts, and representatives from the electricity and water utilities. Among the key findings:
· Due to the densely populated and urbanized nature of Gaza, virtually the whole population was exposed to conflict and affected by damage to vital electricity and water infrastructure. Palestinians residing east of Salah ad-Din Road, in northern Gaza, Rafah and certain parts of Gaza City were particularly affected. Throughout the conflict there was a real fear among the population that no person or place was safe, as evidenced by attacks on hospitals, residential buildings and schools designated as shelters. Psychosocial distress levels, already high among the population of Gaza, have worsened significantly as a result of the conflict.
· The lack of protection is most evident in the high level of civilian casualties. According to preliminary data collected by the Protection Cluster, since 7 July up to 28 August, at least 2,133 Palestinians have been killed. This figure includes 362 persons who could not be yet identified or their status established. Of the initially verified cases, 1,489 are believed to be civilians, including 500 children (187 girls and 313 boys), 257 women and 282 members of armed groups. Many fatalities involved multiple family members, with at least 142 Palestinian families having three or more members killed in the same incident, for a total of 739 fatalities. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, over 11,100 Palestinians, including 3,374 children, 2,088 women and 410 elderly were injured. Preliminary estimates indicate that up to 1,000 of the children injured will have a permanent disability and up to 1,500 orphaned children will need sustained support from the child protection and welfare sectors.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.