• As of 31 March 2021, there were 270,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 per cent were women and 13 per cent were children under the age of 18.
• UNICEF distributed e-vouchers for accessing hygiene kits to 5,900 families in Hebron and Bethlehem Governorates benefitting 35,400 people. A further 7,683 adults (3,903 men and 3,780 women) and 510 kindergarten staff in the Gaza Strip were provided with hygiene kits.
• Through family centres in the Gaza Strip, UNICEF and its local partners reached 3,599 vulnerable children (57 per cent girls) with structured psychosocial support, including individual counselling, group counselling, life skills, child-parent interaction sessions, and other psychosocial support group activities. A further 622 children (42 per cent girls) benefited from individual case management.
• Furthermore, 3,019 children were provided with tablets to enable them to access remote learning opportunities during school closures.
• A total of 1,265 high-risk pregnant and lactating women and 6,655 children (3,372 boys and 3,283 girls) under the age of 5 benefited from essential healthcare and nutrition services.
• The 2021 UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal funding requirement is US$ 21.58 million and US$ 7.9 million (37 per cent) of the requirement was available.
Situation in Numbers
1,200,000 Total children in need of humanitarian assistance
2,450,000 Total people in need (OCHA HNO 2021)
395,437 # of children to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)
480,000 # of people to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In 2021, UNICEF has received an important humanitarian contribution from the Government of Japan and the UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian Fund. The 2021 UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal funding requirement is for US$ 21,585,576 million with only US$ 7,973,956 million (37 per cent) of the requirement so far available.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The spread of COVID-19 has continued for a second consecutive year to aggravate existing vulnerabilities, affecting children’s well-being, and limiting boys’ and girls’ access to essential services. As of 31 March 2021, there were 270,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 per cent were women and 13 per cent were children under the age of 18.
On 17 March, the State of Palestine received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccine doses were transferred to the Ministry of Health’s ultra-cold chain and vaccine storage facilities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As of 31 March, only 78,379 people had received the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, of whom 8,687 are now fully vaccinated.
The Education Cluster estimates that 503,927 people need humanitarian assistance in Education across the State of Palestine. These include 489,009 children (254,493 boys and 234,516 girls), of whom 9,780 are children living with a disability (CWD), who face challenges in accessing quality education in a safe child-friendly environment. The other 14,918 in need of humanitarian assistance are teachers (6,008 men 8,910 women). The COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of moving to online education have revealed the digital divide in the State of Palestine between the children who have access to digital learning opportunities and those who do not. This divide is often manifest in remote and disadvantaged areas in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Many students lack internet access, devices, and adequate digital literacy. Only 44 per cent of households (50 per cent in the West Bank and 36 per cent in the Gaza Strip) with children between the ages of 10-17 who are currently enrolled in schools have the required devices (desktop, laptop or tablet) to enable their children to access online learning materials.
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 in the West Bank. According to estimates, due to the pandemic and related lockdown measures, the proportion of poor households will increase to 64 percent in the Gaza Strip and 30 per cent in the West Bank.
In April 2021, the United States announced that it will contribute US$ 150 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The restoration of funds comes after UNRWA faced severe financial crisis in recent years. The COVID19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, forcing the agency to respond to a public health crisis amidst the most serious financial crisis in its history.