State of Palestine: Humanitarian Situation Report, July - September 2019
• During the reporting period, over 321,000 people had improved access to safe drinking water in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the rehabilitation of water systems.
• Through family centers in Gaza, around 7,000 children (51% girls) were reached with individual and group counselling, life skills, child/parent interaction sessions and other group psychosocial support activities. Over 1,600 children were reached with urgent individual case management support.
• In the West Bank, around 1,500 children received psychosocial support through recreational activities. More than 80 children (57% girls) received structured psychosocial support and protection services.
• Over 6,400 children received protective presence on their way to and from schools in Area C and the H2 area of Hebron city in the West Bank.
• More than 13,600 young children (48% girls) were screened for malnutrition and 2,500 children were treated for malnutrition (1,300 children) and anemia (1,200 children).
• Since March 2018, insecurity and demonstrations in the Gaza Strip have continued as part of the Great March of Return (GMR) resulting in 64 children killed in conflict-related incidents in Gaza, including 43 in the context of demonstrations. According to OCHA, more than 8,300 were injured including 4,000 that were referred to hospitals.
• There is a US$ 5.9 million gap in funding required for the year with most critical gaps in WASH, education and cluster coordination.
Humanitarian Situation and Needs:
The protracted and acute crises continue to generate severe humanitarian needs among the Palestinian populations of the West Bank including Gaza, and East Jerusalem. The deterioration in living conditions in Gaza continues to affect about one million children.
Following rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in August, Israeli authorities responded with a 50% reduction in the amount of fuel allowed into Gaza for the Gaza Power Plant. The normal entry of fuel resumed on the 1 st of September 2019.
Ten children have been killed since the beginning of 2019 in the context of the Great March of Return in Gaza, while 1,388 children have been reported hospitalized due to injuries. According to OCHA reports, since 30 March 2018, 43 children (42 boys and one girl) have been killed in Gaza in the context of demonstrations, and more than 8,3003 reported injured, with over 4,000 requiring hospital treatment. The growing needs in Gaza have overwhelmed the capacities of health and child protection service providers. Timely case management support is needed to prevent disabilities and manifestation of mental health illnesses and other protection issues. There are insufficient safe play areas, as well recreational opportunities and leisure activities for the children in Gaza, which is particularly a problem during summertime. Children with Disabilities (CWDs), including children injured during the Great March of Return events, are the most affected by the deteriorating situation, as many of them lack basic assistive devices that would facilitate their learning in the classroom. Others have suffered injuries that may keep them hospitalized or with a permanent disability where they will require remedial education support.
The increase in electricity supply in the Gaza Strip since October 2018 has improved the delivery of water and sanitation services, while reducing expenditure on fuel for back-up generators for households and businesses. This increase has also reduced the need for the emergency fuel provided by the UN to avert the collapse of key service providers. The dual-use restrictions on medical equipment and a shortage of medicines and disposables have been major contributors to the evolving health crisis in Gaza. Medical consumables and supplies are also depleted. The hospitals have limited capacity to deal with the caseload of injuries that require complex treatment resulting from the demonstrations at the fence and this affects equal health services to women and children. Due to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) new policy on ending patient referrals to Israeli hospitals, referencing a lack of transparency and the high cost of care, a higher proportion of patients from Gaza and the West Bank are now referred within the Palestinian system or to Jordan and Egypt.
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. Access to safe education is compromised by violence and armed search operations in schools; harassment, intimidation and violence towards students and teachers on the way to and from school; severe shortage of classrooms; and demolition or stop work orders on school buildings. In East Jerusalem, the increase in security operations in the city and particularly the almost daily clashes in Isawiya have led to several arrests including of children.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to face severe financial constraints, affecting Palestinians, due to the weakening economy which has the potential to exacerbate the humanitarian situation throughout the West Bank. The agreement concluded in late August, for the PA to receive US$ 568 million from Israel reimbursed from excise taxes on fuel, is only expected to bring temporary relief. Due to the financial crisis, the PA’s ability to continue providing basic health, education, and welfare services beyond the fourth quarter of 2019 remains at risk and serious concerns endure over upholding governance functions unless a solution to the crisis is found.