The protracted protection crisis in the State of Palestine, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has continued to impact children. More than 2.2 million people need humanitarian aidand over 1 million children living in the Gaza Strip have difficulty accessing essential services.
UNICEF will provide life-saving health and nutrition interventions and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services through the construction of water and wastewater networks and facilities. UNICEF will also provide safe access to quality and inclusive learning, support child protection systems and facilitate easy access to psychosocial support, specialized case management referrals, legal aid and counselling.
In 2021, UNICEF requires US$25.2 million to respond to the humanitarian situation in the State of Palestine; enhance the capacities of shock-responsive social protection mechanisms; and continue and expand services to meet the needs of vulnerable children, adolescents and women.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
The State of Palestine is experiencing a protracted humanitarian crisis related to the political situation and the ongoing socio-economic and fiscal crisis, which has left 2.2 million Palestinians increasingly vulnerable to violence, hardship and lack of essential services.In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Palestinians, especially in vulnerable areas such as East Jerusalem, H2 in Hebron and the West Bank’s Area C. More than 750,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid.As of September 2020, more than 47,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Fifty-three per cent of confirmed cases are among women and 23 per cent are among children.Prior to the outbreak, around one quarter of Palestinians lived below the poverty line, including 53 per cent of the population in the Gaza Strip and 14 per cent of the population of the West Bank.According to preliminary estimates, the proportion of poor households will increase to 64 percent in the Gaza Strip and 30 per cent in the West Bank, due to the pandemic and related control measures.In the Gaza Strip, 1 million children have limited access to essential services, and at least 500,000 children having restricted access to safe and clean drinking water.Insufficient access to water has increased the burdens on women and girls as primary household caretakers, and led to heightened risks of gender-based violence.The continuity of essential neonatal maternal health and nutrition services has been disrupted. The growing medical and psychosocial needs in the Gaza Strip are overwhelming the capacities of health and child protection service providers. Nearly 504,000 people need education assistance across the State of Palestine. This includes over 489,000 children (234,516 girls), nearly 9,800 of whom are living with a disability.The closure of the Gaza Strip to “dual use” items has meant that the transfer of essential goods, including fuel, is sometimes constrained. This affects the operation and maintenance of vital water and sanitation infrastructure as well as the Gaza Strip’s only power plant. Consequently, frequent power outages are a major concern, especially the impact on already overburdened hospitals and quarantine centres where electricity is required to contain the spread of COVID-19 and run incubators in neonatal intensive care wards. 15