UNRWA SITUATION REPORT #19 ON THE SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP AND THE WEST BANK (INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM)

UNRWA SITUATION REPORT #19 ON THE SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP AND THE WEST BANK (INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM)


Key Points   

The Gaza Strip  

  • After 25 days of intense hostilities, civilians in the Gaza Strip face desperate conditions. Loss of life, internal displacement, widespread destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, collapse of the health system, lack of fuel and limited availability of basic assistance are some of the enormous challenges people face amid the intensifying conflict.
  • In the last 24 hours, three additional UNRWA staff have been killed, bringing the total to 70 UNRWA colleagues killed since 7 October.
  • Some 690,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are sheltering in 149 installations across the Gaza Strip. An estimated 160,000 are housed in 57 shelters in the north and in Gaza City. UNRWA, however, is no longer able to provide services to the displaced persons in those areas. The Agency does not have accurate information on their needs and conditions since the evacuation order from the Israeli Authorities on 13 October.
  • On 31 October, 59 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies, including medical supplies, food and drinking water, entered the Gaza Strip through Rafah. Seven of them were UNRWA trucks. However, available aid remains insufficient to cover the basic needs of the affected population.
  • Providing humanitarian assistance is extremely challenging due to lack of fuel, ongoing bombardment and destruction of infrastructure.

 

© 2023 UNRWA Photo by Mohammad Hinnawi
© 2023 UNRWA Photo by Mohammad Hinnawi

Overall Situation  

The Gaza Strip  

  • According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 8,525 people have been killed since 7 October, including 3,542 children and 2,197 women, and 21,543 injured. This is in addition to the 2,000 reported missing, presumably under the rubble of destroyed buildings, including 1,100 children.
  • Overall, nearly 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October (OCHA).
  • Over 529,000 persons are sheltering in 92 UNRWA facilities in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. This represents an increase of around 18,000 IDPs in the last 24 hours. Shelters have reached their limit to accommodate new arrivals, and many IDPs are sleeping in the streets close to UNRWA premises.
  • It is estimated that 1.4 million people are currently displaced in the Gaza Strip. In addition to those currently in UNRWA shelters, many others have sought refuge with host families, or in hospitals, government schools and other public facilities. 

 

The West Bank 

  • According to OCHA, the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces or settlers since 7 October has increased to 123, including 34 children. Of these, 115, including 33 children, were killed by Israeli forces; and eight, including one child, by Israeli settlers. One Israeli soldier has been killed by Palestinians.

 

Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians  

  • Since 7 October, 70 UNRWA colleagues have been killed and at least 22 injured. This is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time. Despite the tragic losses, UNRWA staff in the Gaza Strip remain utterly committed to their communities, working around the clock to provide humanitarian assistance.
  • The health-care system has been severely impacted by the ongoing hostilities. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, since 7 October, 130 health workers have been killed and 57 health-care facilities hit. In total, 15 hospitals and 32 primary health-care centres are out of service due to conflict or the lack of fuel.
  • On 31 October, 59 trucks (seven of them UNRWA trucks) carrying humanitarian supplies entered the Gaza Strip through Rafah. UNRWA teams received those shipments in Gaza and helped with storage and distribution, in cooperation with other UN agencies.  The convoys included medical supplies, food and water. No fuel was on the trucks. To date, a total of 217 trucks have entered Gaza since 21 October, following two weeks of tight siege (OCHA). This is a drop in the ocean of needs for the over 2 million people trapped in Gaza.
  • The available assistance remains insufficient to cover people’s basic needs. UNRWA has only 2,000 metric tonnes of wheat remaining. That amounts to just five or six days before supplies are depleted. 

 

UNRWA Response   

The Gaza Strip  

UNRWA Shelters  

  • Overcrowded conditions continue to create severe health and protection concerns for IDPs, taking a heavy toll on their mental health. The average number of IDPs per shelter has reached almost four times their intended capacity. This means that, in some shelters, up to 240 people are living in a classroom of about 40 to 60 square metres.

 

Health  

  • Nine UNRWA health centres are still operational in the South and recorded 4,400 patient visits on 31 October, including refugees and non-refugees. Our staff are working tirelessly to reach as many civilians as possible with primary health care. But needs continue to increase, while the lack of a ceasefire and safe, unimpeded and continuous humanitarian access across the Gaza Strip, hinder operations on the ground.
  • Health-care services in UNRWA shelters were maintained with the support of 92 mobile medical units and medical teams, serving 9,800 cases at shelters on 31 October.
  • Fuel stocks for the health facilities will be completely exhausted in a few days, putting at risk the provision of essential health services. UNRWA has rationed its use of fuel to maximize its remaining supply, which is forecast to last for between 1-2 days. 

 

Psychosocial support 

  • UNRWA has counsellors and social workers in the shelters, who provide psychological first aid and other specialized protection services. Since the beginning of the crisis, UNRWA social workers provided 18,640 people with psychosocial support and social work services.

 

Water and Sanitation Services (WASH) 

  • Some solid waste collection from the camps and from emergency shelters and transfer to landfills continues in Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas, but with difficulty due to the scarcity of fuel and staff. 
  • Water wells in Jabalia, Khan Younis and Rafah are functional with about 10,000 m3 pumped from nine water wells.
  • Despite the limited availability of fuel, desalination plants continue to operate in the shelters for the provision of potable water. Water trucking operations in shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis also continue. However, the amount of water provided is not sufficient to meet all needs.

 

Quote from: Inas ,UNRWA staff in Gaza 

“When night comes my children get closer to me, trying to be safer. Although we know, there is no safe place in Gaza.” 

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