State of Palestine: Humanitarian Situation Report, End of Year 2019

Situation Report
Originally published



• In 2019, over 382,000 people were supported with improved access to safe drinking water in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the rehabilitation of water systems. Around 17,400 people had improved access to safe sanitation services and around 162,000 people increased access to WASH services in health centers in the Gaza Strip.

• UNICEF, in collaboration with local partners, reached over 2,600 children in Gaza and the West Bank with structured psychosocial support and individual case management including 900 children that were injured in the context of the GMR demonstrations.

• Around 94,000 children under 14 and 1,600 vulnerable adolescents participated in summer activities in Gaza through which they received protection, access to psycho social counselling, and exercised their rights to play and recreation.

• Nearly 10,000 children (39% girls) at risk of dropping-out of school in Gaza, benefitted from a UNICEF-funded remedial education program for improved literacy and numeracy.

• By December 2019, UNICEF through partners provided safe accompaniment to over 6,400 children (32% girls) on their way to and from schools in Area C and the H2 area of Hebron.

• Around 162,800 high-risk pregnant and lactating women and under-five children, including 14,650 newborns, benefited from the provision of medical supplies.

• In September 2019, around 2,000 children from local schools, accompanied by UN agencies, the European Union, child rights organizations, and the public participated in the 30-day walk to raise awareness of child rights and the UN CRC along the Masar Ibrahim Al Khalil trail.

• UNICEF had US$ 15.4 million available for humanitarian action in 2019, with 73% of humanitarian funding needs covered in the calendar year allowing UNICEF to undertake humanitarian programming in both Gaza and the West Bank.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

In 2019 UNICEF received significant emergency funding from the Belgium Development Agency, DFID, ECHO, France, Japan, OCHA, SIDA-Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian. The 2019 UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal funding requirement was for US$ 21.1 million and US$ 15.4 million (73 percent) of the requirement was available. Over 50 percent of the funding available in 2019 was carried forward from 2018 to 2019, with funding carried forward particularly significant in the WASH, Child Protection and Health and Nutrition programs. Only 36 percent of the annual funding requirement was received in the 2019 calendar year.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

2019 was dominated by two short but major escalations between Israel and Palestinian armed factions in Gaza, the continuation of the Great March of Return demonstrations, fiscal revenue challenges, demolitions of property and humanitarian infrastructure, rising unemployment and numerous incidents of violence and grave violations against children. These factors have deepened the fragility of the context in Palestine and led to an increased need for humanitarian support to one million children in need of protection and basic services like water, education and health.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza has been exacerbated by the fragile security situation, including serious escalations between Israeli forces and militant groups in May and November which resulted in the death of 11 Palestinian children. Also in Gaza, the 12-year blockade, the Great March of Return (GMR) weekly demonstrations at the perimeter fence and the overstretched and deteriorating health system have made the humanitarian situation particularly acute. The reactions to the GMR demonstrations resulted in the injury of 35,450 Palestinians, including 8,588 children (93 percent boys)1 , of whom 4,3282 were hospitalized.

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, access to education is heavily compromised by education-related violations facing students and teachers. Children are exposed to conflict-related violence and movement restrictions, which can lead to increased school dropout rates. In East Jerusalem, the increase in security operations in the city and particularly the almost daily clashes in the Isawiya neighbourhood have led to several arrests including of children.

The deterioration in the humanitarian situation has pushed more families into poverty, with 54 percent of the population in Gaza considered poor, undermining their ability to afford basic education supplies and transportation costs and increasing the risk of school dropout.