Palestine: Extreme Weather Conditions - Operation Update Report DREF n° MDRPS011

Situation Report
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Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

This DREF Operation Update reports on the progress of the ongoing response operation for the affected population of the extreme weather conditions, specifically related to; relief items distributed to affected and importation of tarpaulins.

This DREF Operation is being extended for an additional two months aiming to finalize the planned DREF activities. COVID-19 and movement restrictions have delayed the implementation of some activities and lead to cancelation of others. Remaining balance will be reallocated for additional procurement of Hygiene Kits (669) to replenish distributed stocks.

  • 26 December 2020: West Bank Operation Room was activated.

  • 18 January 2020: Start of heavy rains and storms, resulting in flooding in almost all of Palestinian provinces. Immediate start of Palestine Red Crescent Society’s (PRCS) response operation.

  • Needs assessment for 2,098 families in the West Bank (WB) and the Gaza Strip was carried out in January, and 1,959 were provided with relief items. The assessment is ongoing and consequently the distribution of relief items is followed.

  • 19 Jan 2020: Gaza activated the Operation room.

  • 31 January 2020: IFRC allocated CHF 235,191 from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Palestine Red Crescent Society Cold Wave Emergency Response.

  • 20 February 2020: Distribution conducted by PRCS, West Bank (WB) a total of 367 families were affected (2,325 family members). In Gaza, 835 affected families were identified (5,220 family members).

  • 10 March 2020: Distribution process started by PRCS’s National Disaster Response Team (NDRT) in West Bank, reached out to 520 families (2,980 beneficiaries) and in Gaza, PRCS reached out 851 Family (5,283 beneficiaries).

  • 29 April 2020: Distribution conducted by PRCS, West Bank. The total affected families were 1,076 (5,393 beneficiaries) and in Gaza, 883 families, (5,474 beneficiaries).

  • April 2020: Eight sub-warehouses were restocked with the following relief items: (1,580 Blankets, 1,140 mattresses, 570 kitchen sets, 570 Hygiene sets, 270 Heaters, Tarpaulins 480, jerry can 180).


Description of the disaster

Extreme weather conditions hit the WB and Gaza Strip started on Saturday 18 January including heavy rain floods, winds, and low-temperature cold wave. The heavy rain generated floods in several parts of Palestine and thousands of people were affected with many families being evacuated from their homes. The extreme weather conditions resulted in the deaths of three people: two in the Gaza Strip and one in Jerusalem due to the heavy rains and flooding.

The weather events deeply affected local communities, particularly in the Gaza Strip where thousands of people already remain displaced and live in semi-structured or transitional shelters or tents due to loss of their homes during the recent escalation in hostilities. For the first time in the Gaza Strip, the temperature approached zero at night at a time where it was not possible to operate the heating systems due to electricity cuts. Furthermore, gas stations in the Gaza Strip had insufficient fuel to provide to people to operate their own generators. Additionally, vendors providing cooking gas had insufficient stock.

In the West Bank the Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley, communities living close to the Israeli separation wall, as well as vulnerable communities residing specifically in the old cities and areas close to streams across the West Bank such as Hebron, Jerusalem, Jenin, Qalqilia, Ramallah, Tubas, and Nablus were affected by the heavy rain fall. The cold wave was exceptional in its nature, with very strong winds and rains, and temperatures (approx. 3C) which were uncharacteristically low for Palestine.

Based on the weather forecast which included storms, on the 13 January, the Palestinian Government called for “collaboration and common efforts to support the affected populations to face the current challenges”. As Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is a member of the High Council of Civil Defence, and due to its auxiliary role, subsequently responded to the humanitarian needs.