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UNRWA Situation Report No 107 on Gaza Strip and West Bank

Conflicts 2024-05-15, 10:16pm

families-fleeing-rafah-face-further-forced-displacement-following-the-evacuation-order-issued-by-the-israeli-authorities-southern-gaza-strip-9637e8beb7171936b30f3a919c2f7a031715789816.jpg

Families fleeing Rafah face further forced displacement following the evacuation order issued by the Israeli Authorities, Southern Gaza Strip. May 2024. © UNRWA Photo by Ashraf Amra 2024



The Gaza Strip

Reports persist of ongoing strikes by Israeli Forces, encompassing aerial, land and maritime bombardment across the Gaza Strip. These attacks exacerbate civilian casualties, displacement and the decimation of residential structures and essential civilian infrastructure. The Israeli ground offensive continues to expand, particularly in the southern regions of Gaza city and eastern Rafah, notably around the Kerem Shalom and Rafah Crossings.  

On 8 May, OCHA, UNRWA, UN Mine Action Service, and the UN Department of Safety and Security carried out a security assessment at both crossings, which remain heavily militarized. Due to current Israeli military operations and insecurity, critical land routes of Kerem Shalom and Rafah were closed from 6 – 10 May 2024.

On 10 May, the Health Cluster issued a warning: unless fuel is promptly permitted into Gaza, the operational lifespans of five hospitals and five field hospitals across the Strip would significantly reduce in less than 48 hours. Likewise, at risk are 28 ambulances, 17 primary health care centres, 23 medical facilities in Al Mawasi, and ten mobile clinics providing essential immunization, trauma care and nutrition services. The absence of fuel to power generators poses a critical threat, particularly endangering patients in Intensive Care Units (ICU), including newborns in neonatal ICUs, trauma patients requiring urgent surgeries and pregnant women in need of caesarian sections (C-sections).  Urgent action to increase fuel supply into Gaza is imperative to keep health services going, with life-saving services hanging in the balance.  As of 11 May, only 120,000 litres of diesel was allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since 6 May, which is well below the requirement for UN and NGO partners on the ground, therefore urgent rationing and difficult choices have been taken.  

According to OCHA, despite escalating humanitarian needs, access challenges persistently obstruct the efforts of humanitarian organizations to reach vulnerable people, particularly in northern Gaza. From 1-9 May, only nine out of 32 humanitarian aid missions (28 per cent) to northern Gaza were facilitated by Israeli authorities. Five missions (16 per cent) were outright denied, eleven (34 percent) were impeded and seven (22 per cent) were cancelled due to logistical hurdles. Similarly, in areas of southern Gaza requiring coordination, Israeli authorities facilitated 25 out of 46 aid missions (54 percent). However, nine missions (20 percent) faced outright denials, three (6 percent) were impeded, and nine (20 percent) were cancelled due to logistical constraints.

The current Israeli military operation in Rafah is directly impacting the ability of aid agencies to bring critical humanitarian supplies into Gaza.  Between 6 – 10 May the border crossings of Kerem Shalom and Rafah were closed due to a combination of military activity, insecurity and lack of approvals from Israeli authorities.    

As of 12 May, the total number of UNRWA colleagues killed since the beginning of hostilities is 189, an increase of one since the last report.

As of 11 May, up to 1.7 million* people (over 75 per cent of the population)** have been displaced across the Gaza Strip, the majority multiple times.*** Families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Following intense Israeli bombardments and fighting in Khan Younis and the Middle Area in recent weeks, a significant number of displaced people have moved further south.  

Already displaced families are on the move again namely due to insecurity and Israeli evacuation orders. As of 12 May 2024, the estimated number of people displaced out of Rafah amounts to nearly 360,000 people since 06 May. The majority of UNRWA shelters in Rafah have been left by the IDPs who moved to Khan Younis and Deir Al Balah.  Furthermore, new evacuation orders have been issued affecting parts of Gaza City. It was reported that about 100,000 people were displaced from Zaitoun and Sabra areas towards the west of Gaza City.  In the North of Gaza, it was reported that about 64,000 people were displaced from Jabalia and Beit Lahia after the new evacuation orders.

*This includes 1 million people living in or near emergency shelters or informal shelters. As of 12 October, approximately 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were recorded in UNRWA shelters in Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates. UNRWA currently estimates that the population of Northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates is up to 300,000 people. The ability of UNRWA to provide humanitarian support and updated data in these areas has been severely restricted. The ongoing hostilities, evacuation orders issued by ISF, and the constant need for safer locations have resulted in people being displaced multiple times.

**UNRWA reported on 15 January in Situation Report 64 that up to 1.9 million IDPs were either residing in 154 UNRWA shelters or near these shelters. Due to the continued escalation of fighting and evacuation orders, some households have moved away from the shelters where they were initially registered.

*** There are instances where the same IDPs are registered in multiple shelters due to the fluid movement of populations; hereafter, estimates are used for these shelters. UNRWA plans to conduct a more accurate count of IDPs in shelters, including informal shelters, as soon as the security situation allows.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem update will shift to once a week, every Monday.  

Between 6 and 12 May, there were 175 recorded Israeli Security Forces (ISF) search and arrest operations across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. More than 130 Palestinians, including Palestine Refugees, were detained during this period. Two Palestine Refugees were killed: a resident of Tulkarm Camp who died on 6 May from injuries after being fired upon by ISF east of Tulkarm, and a resident of Balata Camp who died on 12 May after an exchange of fire during an ISF search operation in the camp.

On 6 May, an ISF search and arrest operation in the northern West Bank targeted Tulkarm and Nur Shams refugee camps, lasting nearly 22 hours. The operation caused significant damage, including bulldozing of roads and the destruction of a Palestinian Red Crescent Society medical post.

On 9 May, the ISF, using explosives, demolished an apartment near Shu’fat Camp, in the Jerusalem area. The apartment belonged to a Palestinian killed in February 2024 by ISF after allegedly being involved in a security incident. Punitive home demolitions are a form of collective punishment, illegal under international law.

The UNRWA West Bank Field Office in East Jerusalem was subject to an arson attack by Israeli residents on 9 May, who set fire to the perimeter of the compound while staff were inside. This followed a violent protest outside the office on 7 May, during which windows were broken and UNRWA staff were attacked with stones. Following these incidents the UNRWA West Bank Field Office was temporarily closed.

Overall situation

The Gaza Strip

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 9 May, at least 34,904 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. Another 78,514 Palestinians have been reportedly injured.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem

According to OCHA, between 7 October 2023– 6 May 2024, 479 Palestinians, including at least 116 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Humanitarian access

The Gaza Strip

UNRWA is working to verify the details of incidents reportedly affecting UNRWA premises. Further information will be provided once it becomes available.

Seven incidents have been reported impacting UNRWA installations and internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering there. While verification of details and casualty figures remain ongoing, initial reports indicate:

On 10 May, in the early hours, the eastern outside wall of a health centre in Gaza City was reportedly damaged by shelling.  Nearly 2,300 people were reportedly sheltering in the health centre at the time of the incident.

On 10 May, the solar system room located on the roof of a school in Gaza City was reportedly hit by a strike resulting in damage to the solar panels, the batteries and the electricity system. Additionally, one of the classroom walls on the first floor was damaged by shelling. Nearly 2,200 people were reportedly sheltering in the school at the time of the incident.

On 7 May 2024, one IDP sheltering in a school in Gaza City was killed and seven other IDPs were injured, including an UNRWA staff member, when the school was reportedly directly hit by a strike. Three classrooms located on the eastern side of the school sustained damage.

On 7 May 2024, two IDPs sheltering in a school in Nuseirat in Middle Area were injured by shrapnel that fell in the school when a building adjacent to the school was hit by a strike.

On 7 May 2024, three IDPs sustained minor injuries as a result of a strike that directly hit the rooftop of a school in Rafah. The injured were transferred to the hospital. It is important to note that this school is not in the area affected by the evacuation orders issued by the ISF on 06 May 2024.

On 7 May 2024, a distribution centre in Rafah was reportedly hit by artillery shells. A shell hit inside the northern courtyard, and another hit the eastern wall. No injuries were reported. On 8 May 2024, the same distribution centre in Rafah was directly impacted by shooting reportedly from an ISF quadcopter. The walls of the building sustained minor damage.  It is important to note that the distribution centre is not in the area affected by the evacuation orders issued by the ISF on 6 May 2024.

375* incidents impacting UNRWA premises and the people inside them have been reported since the beginning of the war (some with multiple incidents impacting the same location), including at least 51 incidents of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises. 171 different UNRWA installations have been impacted.  

UNRWA estimates that in total at least 430* IDPs sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least a further 1,442* injured since the start of the war. UNRWA is still verifying the number of casualties caused by incidents that impacted its installations, and notes that these figures do not include some reported casualties where the number of injuries could not be determined.

UNRWA Response

The Gaza Strip

UNRWA Shelters

As of 11 May, nearly 1.7 million displaced people are now sheltering across emergency shelters (UNRWA and public shelters), informal sites or in the vicinity of UNRWA shelters and distribution sites and within host communities.  

Health

As of 11 May, 80 medical points and six (out of 24[1] ) UNRWA health centres were operational. These health centres provide primary health care, including outpatient services, non-communicable disease care, medications, vaccination, antenatal and postnatal health care and dressing for injured patients.  

On 1 May, UNRWA health operations expanded further into northern Gaza where five medical points became operational.

On 13 March, UNRWA opened a temporary health centre to provide health services for the people in al-Mawasi, west of Khan Younis.  

Nearly 565 healthcare staff continue to work in operational health centres. On 11 May, they provided 9,365 medical consultations.

UNRWA conducted another 7,567 medical consultations through 254 staff at the shelters, including at the newly established medical points in al-Mawasi area to serve an influx of displaced persons from Khan Younis.

As of 11 May, UNRWA provided mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services in the Middle and Khan Younis areas with teams of psychiatrists and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters. UNRWA teams responded to 395 cases. UNRWA teams responded to cases in health centres and medical points through individual consultations, awareness sessions and support for cases of gender-based violence. UNRWA teams provided medical care for 350 post-natal and pregnant women at high risk.  

In early January, UNRWA received vaccines from UNICEF for its health centres. Eleven different types of vaccines were received (refrigerated and freezer storage). On 11 May, 449 children were vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella, hepatitis, tuberculosis and other diseases.

Psychosocial support (PSS)

300 UNRWA counsellors continue to provide live-saving psychosocial support in Gaza, including psychosocial first aid, individual and group counselling, fatigue management sessions, recreational activities, Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) as well as protection cash assistance targeting children, youth and adults.

Since the onset of the conflict, it is estimated that 620,000 IDPs including over 370,000 children have benefited from a total of 177,390 PSS sessions/activities. During the period from 2 – 9 May, a total of 28,687 IDPs ,including 19,278 children, benefited from these services. Specifically, counsellors addressed 1,274 individual consultations and provided 824 group awareness sessions benefiting 6,496 adults.

Additionally, they conducted 740 recreational activities engaging 15,279 children. Counsellors also provided 246 EORE sessions to 2,721 adults and 3,999 children and contributed to supporting 192 protection cases.

Food Security

As of 29 April, UNRWA continued to distribute flour outside of shelters in the southern governorates. To date, a total of 380,225 families (nearly 1.9 million people) have been reached, of whom 322,060 families have received two rounds of flour and another 189,182 families have received three rounds.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Due to the security situation in combination with internet connectivity we are unable to provide any additional updates since sitrep 67.