Situation in Numbers
1,200,000 Total children in need of humanitarian assistance
2,450,000 Total people in need (OCHA HNO 2021)
658,528 # of children to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)
1,088,745 # of people to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)
As result of the escalation in the Gaza Strip, 67 children were reported killed, and 685 injured. Two Israeli children were killed, and 60 were reported injured. In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, 9 Palestinian children were killed between 7 May and 31 July, and 556 children were reported injured. At least 170 Palestinian children from East Jerusalem were arrested.
As of 31 July 2021, there were 345,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 per cent were women and 12 per cent were children under the age of 18.
In light of the recent escalation, the 2021 Humanitarian Appeal for Children needs has increased to US$ 46,202,701 in total, with a gap of US$ 31,548,342 (68%).
UNICEF and partners succeeded in restoring WASH services for 415,000 affected people through the provision of fuel for generators, chemicals, and spare parts for water production and treatment, and repairs of damaged water and wastewater infrastructure.
In the second quarter of 2021, the family centers in the Gaza Strip reached 4,043 vulnerable children (51% girls) with structured psychosocial support, including individual counseling, group counseling, life skills, child-parent interaction sessions, and other psychosocial support group activities.
UNICEF launched summer activities in the Gaza Strip, providing access to learning and recreational programmes for 55,000 vulnerable children and adolescents. In East Jerusalem, a remedial education programme reached 240 vulnerable children including children with disabilities.
UNICEF has also started the emergency rehabilitation of the first batch of 20 damaged schools (out of 46 schools UNICEF has committed to repairing in the Gaza Strip). Upon completion of the rehabilitation, nearly 50,000 children (54 percent are girls) will safely return to school in mid-August.
UNICEF continued to support the Ministry of Health with provisions of 11 essential drugs benefiting 195,800 people and 18 consumable items benefiting 35,000 people in the Gaza Strip.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
In light of the recent escalation, the 2021 Humanitarian Appeal for Children (HAC) needs have increased to US$ 46,202,701 to cover the humanitarian and recovery needs of the multiple crises in the State of Palestine (SoP).
UNICEF has received funding from the Governments of Japan, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, and Canada, UNOCHA, the French Committee for UNICEF, the German Committee for UNICEF, and the UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian Fund. However, the 2021 HAC appeal still has a funding gap of US$ 31,548,342 (68%).
Without sufficient funds, UNICEF will be unable to continue to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs, support the country’s nationwide response to ongoing crises and contribute to building the resilience of communities and strengthening the national systems. For example, 9,000 conflict-affected children will not benefit from emergency cash transfers, 33,000 children will not receive mental health and psychosocial support interventions. Furthermore, UNICEF and partners would not be able to continue providing lifesaving, sustainable water, sanitation services for over 811,000 people, support a safe return to schools for over 307,000 and children, and complete the emergency repairs of the 13 health facilities and 26 schools.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The State of Palestine is affected by a protracted protection crisis and suffers from chronic humanitarian concerns. Currently, 2.5 million people, including 1.2 million children, living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, need humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian situation deteriorated recently with the rise of tension in East Jerusalem, the escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip in May 2021, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding the situation is the deepening financial crisis, ongoing political divisions, and protracted political conflict that has left Palestinians vulnerable to violence and lacking access to essential basic services.
During the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip, 67 children were killed, and 685 were reported injured. Two Israeli children were killed, and 60 were reported injured. Tensions continue in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Nine Palestinian children were killed between 7 May and 31 July, and 556 children were reported injured, including by live ammunition, rubber-coated bullets, concussion grenades, and tear gas. In East Jerusalem, at least 170 Palestinian children were arrested during the same period.
Following the escalation of violence across the State of Palestine in May 2021, Child Protection and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) needs have grown significantly. In the Gaza Strip, it is estimated that some 675,000 children need MHPSS services, while over 15,000 children need similar support in the West Bank, necessitating the intervention of all Child Protection and MHPSS partners.
The Rapid Damage Need Assessment (RDNA), conducted after the recent escalation by the World Bank, the EU, and the UN, estimates that 116 private kindergartens and 140 public school buildings sustained damage, in addition to 41 UNRWA school buildings. Furthermore, another 63 UNRWA school buildings were damaged from accommodating around 70,000 internally displaced people in the Gaza Strip who sought refuge in these schools during the escalation.
The Education Cluster also estimates that over 500,000 people need humanitarian education assistance across the State of Palestine, including nearly 10,000 living with disabilities (CWD), who face challenges accessing quality education in a safe, child-friendly environment.
Access to safe drinking water and sanitation remains a major daily struggle for much of the population. The escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip resulted in the damage of 290 WASH infrastructure, disruption of electricity supply. It increased access restrictions to critical WASH supplies undermining partners’ capacity to provide WASH services. Consequently, some 1.3 million people in the Gaza Strip alone do not have access to adequate safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene items.
Health services in the Gaza Strip were also highly impacted by the May 2021 escalation, with 33 health facilities damaged during the conflict. The spread of COVID-19 has also continued for a second consecutive year aggravating existing vulnerabilities, affecting children’s well-being, and limiting boys’ and girls’ access to essential services. As of 31 July 2021, there were 345,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 percent were women and 12 percent were children under the age of 18.
In the Gaza Strip, limitations are still in place on supplies necessary for critical reconstruction, and basic livelihoods and services. As of the end of July, the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip has been open only to enter specific essential items and limited humanitarian commodities.
Humanitarian access for supplies into the Gaza Strip remains a concern, with significantly decreased material availability in the local market. There is an urgent need to import some materials, especially for WASH and other reconstruction projects impacted considerably by the recent hostilities. An additional challenge is the continued ban on the entry of “dual-use” materials into the Gaza Strip, which constrains the transfer of essential goods. This affects the operation and maintenance of vital water and sanitation facilities and infrastructure and the Gaza Strip’s only power plant. The lengthy importation process for supplies is also challenging the delivery of timely humanitarian assistance.