UNRWA SITUATION REPORT #26 ON THE SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP AND THE WEST BANK, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM

UNRWA SITUATION REPORT #26 ON THE SITUATION IN THE GAZA STRIP AND THE WEST BANK, INCLUDING EAST JERUSALEM

Day 33 of Hostilities 


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Key Points  

The Gaza Strip 

  • In the last 24 hours, UNRWA received confirmation that seven additional colleagues were killed. 99 UNRWA colleagues have been killed and at least 26 injured since the start of hostilities. This is the highest number of United Nations aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of the United Nations.
  • Since 4 November, Israel has opened a humanitarian "corridor” along the main North–South Road in the Gaza Strip from 10 am to 2 pm. As a result, at least 70,000 people - mostly walking - have traveled from north to south. The UN and NGOs are supporting through monitoring and providing water and some food just south of Wadi Gaza.
  • Almost 1.6 million people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since 7 October. Two additional shelters were opened in the Middle area. Nearly 742,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are now sheltering in 151 UNRWA installations across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip, including in the north.
  • Over 582,000 IDPs are sheltering in 94 facilities in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. Nearly 160,000 IDPs were sheltering in 57 UNRWA schools in the northern and Gaza areas as of 12 October 2023, before the evacuation order was issued by the Israeli Authorities. UNRWA is not able to access these shelters to assist or protect the IDPs and does not have information on their needs and conditions.

 

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

  • A demolition by the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) took place in Shufat refugee camp, in the early morning of 8 November, which lasted five hours. The demolition, using explosives, targeted the home of a 13-year-old, who stabbed an ISF officer at the checkpoint in February.
  • Several ISF personnel forced their way into an UNRWA installation during the operation, under protest by Agency staff. All UNRWA operations in the camp were suspended, including education services, affecting over 630 students.
  • The ISF launched a large-scale operation in Qalqiliya city (north of the West Bank) in the morning of 8 November, which included exchanges of fire with armed Palestinians. Multiple arrests and live ammunition injuries were reported. UNRWA schools suspended in-person classes, and transitioned to online learning, impacting over 1,400 students.
  • An ISF operation took place in Bethlehem in the afternoon and evening. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 61 injuries, including seven from live ammunition.

 

Palestinians leaving the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 8 November 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra
Palestinians leaving the northern part of the Gaza Strip, 8 November 2023. © 2023 UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra

Overall Situation 

The Gaza Strip

  • According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, over 10,569 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. 67 per cent of them are believed to be children and women.
  • Over 26,475 people have been injured. Around 2,450 others, including 1,350 children, have been reported missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble, awaiting rescue or recovery.
  • 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).

 

The West Bank

  • According to OCHA, since 7 October, 150 Palestinians, including 44 children, have been killed by ISF, and eight, including one child, by Israeli settlers. 

 

Humanitarian Access, Protection of Civilians 

The Gaza Strip

  • In the last 24 hours, UNRWA was able to verify and confirm that seven additional staff members were killed due to strikes across all five areas of the Gaza strip in the last few weeks. 99 UNRWA staff colleagues been killed and at least 26 injured since the beginning of the war.
  • One third of the UNRWA colleagues who were killed were below the Wadi Gaza line, in the southern and middle areas of the Gaza Strip.
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  • One UNRWA school in Gaza was directly hit by a strike, resulting in many injuries among the internally displaced persons sheltering in the school. UNRWA is still trying to verify the number of casualties since access to the school is currently not possible due to ongoing military operations in the Gaza area. According to the latest available data, at least 200 internally displaced people were sheltering in the school as of 12 October.
  • Due to strikes on buildings near an UNRWA school in Nuseirat Camp, in the Middle area, shrapnel fell inside the school injuring one person. The school is sheltering 6,700 internally displaced people. An unexploded ordnance reportedly fell on the street in front of the school, approx. 15m away from the school’s wall.
  • UNRWA’s Sanitation Office in Deir El-Balah, in the Middle area, sustained damage when a strike hit the antenna tower of an adjacent building. The antenna fell between the building and the UNRWA office causing collateral damage.
  • To date, 556 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA facilities have been injured and 66 killed since 7 October. Of those, 23 of the IDPs killed and the majority of the IDPs injured (at least 400) were in installations south of Wadi Gaza.
  • At least 54 UNRWA installations have been impacted since the beginning of the war. At least 70 per cent of them are south of Wadi Gaza, in the middle and southern areas.
  • On 8 November, a total of 106 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies, including medical supplies, food and drinking water, entered the Gaza Strip through Rafah, bringing the total number of trucks to 756 since 21 October when the first convoy was allowed to enter. Four of the trucks which entered on 8 November were UNRWA trucks. UNRWA teams received all trucks in the convoys inside Gaza and helped with storage and distribution, in cooperation with other UN agencies.
  • This is far below the quantities needed to meet the needs of over two million people trapped in Gaza. Before the war, around 500 trucks, including humanitarian assistance but predominantly commercial supplies, entered Gaza every day.
  • No fuel has been allowed into the Gaza Strip since 7 October. Fuel is critical to continue lifesaving humanitarian operations in Gaza.

 

The West Bank

  • Due to access restrictions, UNRWA staff in the West Bank have been unable to reach the Field Office in Jerusalem since 7 October.
  • Although access restrictions are in place in the West Bank, UNRWA has been able to keep its operations running, except in Hebron. 

 

UNRWA Response  

The Gaza Strip  

UNRWA Shelters 

  • The number of displaced people continues to increase. UNRWA shelters in the Middle and South areas are severely overcrowded and are unable to accommodate new arrivals.
  • One school in Maghazi camp, in the Middle area, is now hosting more than 25,700 IDPs, while another school nearby currently has over 19,900 IDPs. More than 21,700 IDPs are sheltering at UNRWA Khan Younis Training Centre (KYTC), and 16,700 IDPs are sheltering at the logistics base in Rafah.
  • These installations are accommodating nine times their intended capacity. They are not designed to host such a large number of people and do not have adequate facilities to provide safe and dignified living conditions.
  • The number of toilets differs from one shelter to another. In general, there are 30 to 50 toilets in a school (including those for persons with disabilities). On average, 160 people sheltering in UNRWA schools share a single toilet.
  • On average, there is one shower unit for every 700 people in UNRWA shelters.
  • People inside shelters continue to suffer from lack of food, basic survival items, low hygiene levels and increased mental health issues. 

 

Health 

  • Nine (out of 22) UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas, recording 6,530 patient visits on 8 November, including Palestine Refugees and non-refugees. 
  • Midwives are providing medical care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the nine operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 202 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases have been attended to at the health centres and a total 718 of post-natal mothers have been attended to in the shelters since the beginning of October.   
  • Seven out of the nine active health centres resumed vaccination services in line with the national vaccination programme, a total of 953 children were vaccinated since the reactivation of the service.
  • Dental services for emergency cases (bleeding, swelling, trauma, and extraction) were provided to 187 people in seven health centres since the reactivation of the service.
  • On 8 November 2023, UNRWA continued to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 92 mobile medical points and 267 health workers attended a total of 9,794 cases. 
  • Fuel and medicine are running severely low, making the delivery of primary health care at UNRWA health centres very challenging.
  • On 7 November, UNRWA has facilitated the delivery of WHO’s much needed emergency medical supplies and medicines to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, north of the Gaza Strip, despite huge risks to our staff and health partners due to relentless bombardments.
  • The quantities delivered are far from sufficient to respond to the immense needs in the Gaza Strip. The medical conditions at Al-Shifa are disastrous. There are currently almost two patients for every bed available.
  • The number of wounded continue to increase while patients are undergoing immense pain as medicines and anaesthetics are running out. In addition, tens of thousands of displaced people have sought shelter in the hospital’s parking lots and yards.

 

Relief and Social Services/Psychosocial support

  • UNRWA has counsellors and social workers in the shelters to provide psychosocial first aid and other specialized protection services. Since 7 October, 30,400 individuals (over 60 per cent of whom are females) received psychosocial support including family support and recreational activities.
  • In cooperation with the organization “Humanity and Inclusion” and other partners, over 4,950 persons with disabilities, injuries, children, elderly, post-natal and pregnant women received hygiene kits, assistive devices, dressings for wounds, kitchen kits, eyeglasses and first-aid kits, since the beginning of the hostilities.

 

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH)

  • With the little fuel it has remaining, UNRWA continues to operate water wells in Khan Younis and Rafah for the provision of potable and domestic water supply. Potable water trucking operations to the shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis areas also continue. However, given the high number of people in the shelters, the water provided is not enough to meet personal water consumption needs as per WHO standards.
  • UNRWA has been providing about 1.5 litres of potable water and between 3-4 litres of water for cooking, washing and hygiene in all shelters. The provision of water, either through desalination plants or water tracking, requires fuel, which is running severely low.
  • In one of the most crowded shelters, KYTC, which now hosts more than 21,700 IDPs, UNRWA in partnership with UNICEF has installed a desalination plant to provide potable water to IDPs.
  • Solid waste collection from the camps and from emergency shelters and transfer to landfills also continues in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. However, the scarcity of fuel and shortage of trucks are hampering solid waste management activities.
  • On a daily basis, UNRWA teams handle maintenance and rehabilitation works at several shelters including plumbing, repair to water and sewage networks and electrical fixings, to ensure that facilities at the shelters are as operational as possible.

Food Security

  • Eleven bakeries have been hit and destroyed since 7 October. Only one of the WFP-contracted bakeries, along with eight others in the southern and Middle areas, are able to provide bread to shelters while working intermittently, depending on the availability of flour and fuel. People queue for long hours outside bakeries, where they are exposed to bombardments and strikes.

 

Quote from 11-year-old girl, IDP in an UNRWA school in Khan Younis:

 "I came [to this UNRWA school] with my family from Zeitoun, Gaza city, after the building next to our house was hit. It was terrifying. The window in the room where I was fell on me, but thankfully I was not injured. After the strike, we decided to leave, we jumped in the car and left, we took nothing with us. On the way to the south, I saw dead bodies lying on the street. My mom told me to close my eyes, but I couldn't. The dead bodies were burnt, the skin was black. I was so scared. The other night I was so terrified again when a building near the school was hit. I hugged my mom so tight. Here in the school, we have nothing, not even a blanket, at night it is so cold, and I am shivering so much that my teeth are chattering."

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