• Since the start of the demonstrations associated with the “Great March of Return” on 30th March, 135 people have been killed, including 17 children in Gaza. More than 15,501 people were injured, 8,221 (53%) of them hospitalized. According to MoH, 2,947 children were injured, comprising 19% of total injures as of 30 June, 2018.
• The current deterioration of the situation in Gaza and rising tensions in the West Bank trigger urgent funding needs for child protection, health, WASH and education interventions to address the growing humanitarian needs. Only US$ 9.1 million or 36 per cent of the initial requirements was available as of 30 June, 2018.
• A total of 718 injured children have been supported by Child Protection/Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS) working group members through home visits, and Psychological First Aid; children in need of more specialized care were referred to case management, utilizing the child protection referral pathways. This includes those who have parents, siblings, relatives or friends injured or killed during demonstrations.
• Prepositioned essential drugs and medical consumables were released to cover emergency medical care for 111,532 children and their families.
• A rapid assessment was launched in the Hebron Governorate in June 2018 to better determine the vulnerabilities, resilience, coping mechanisms, and service delivery gaps for children.
• Emergency education supplies and materials were delivered to 48,895 children in Gaza.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
In 2018, the number of people in need is at 2.5 million, with 90% of these people living in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s security situation is extremely fragile and unpredictable. Roughly 1.8 million people are in need of WASH emergency services, as they suffer from poor water quality due to poor infrastructure, restrictions on fuel supplies and acute power cuts. Furthermore, with the escalation in violence, injuries and deaths, more children are in need of mental health, psychosocial support and safety and protection.
Gaza continues its trajectory of de-development despite initial hopes of an improvement in the socio-economic situation and movement and access emanating from the Cairo agreement for reconciliation during late 2017. Record levels of unemployment in Gaza currently sit at 48.2% (PCBS Census 2017) compounding the widespread prevalence of poverty, reducing purchasing power and increasing people’s reliance on humanitarian aid with more than 80%1 of the population dependent on some form of assistance. Salaries of civil servants have, since April 2017, continued to be paid at a reduced rate (UN OCHA). Chronic and recurrent power and water shortages negatively impact children and their families across the Gaza strip, with households receiving on average only 73 liters of water per person per day (i.e. well below WHO standards) and about two thirds of the water they use for drinking is micro-biologically contaminated.
Additionally, the risk of escalation in military confrontations with Israel remains high. While the ceasefire from 2014 remains in place, it is regularly tested by systematic and hostile activities between Palestinian armed groups (rocket and mortar fire, IED explosions, incendiary kites and balloons and targeting of patrols along the fence) and Israeli forces (missile strikes, incursions, tunnel destruction).
In largely peaceful demonstrations associated with the “Great March of Return “, which began on 30th March, 135 people have been killed including 17 children. More than 15,501 injured with 53% of these people hospitalized, while 47% were treated at field medical points and primary health care centers. A total of 2,947 children were injured, comprising 19% of total injured, with 50.6% of injuries were to the lower limbs, 7.2% to the head and neck and 48.9% of injures were from live bullets.
On 14th May 2018, the highest casualty toll in a single day since the 2014 hostilities was recorded in the Gaza Strip. A death toll of 60 Palestinians was recorded and another 2,770 were injured, nearly half by live ammunition. On 15th May, two Palestinians were killed and 417 injured amidst demonstrations with several hundred-people gathered at the five tent camps along the perimeter fence to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1948 ‘Nakba’, the day on which the State of Israel was established in 1948. Multiple demonstrations continued to take place across the West Bank, some of which evolved into clashes with Israeli security forces, mainly at checkpoints with at least 166 Palestinians, including four children, were injured.
In recent months, the Israeli authorities have passed or advanced new legislation that will significantly limit the ability of individuals and human rights organizations to challenge the demolition or seizure of Palestinian properties in Area C and East Jerusalem.