Saturday, February 7, 2009

OCHA Report on The Current Situation on the Ground in Gaza, 1.28.09 - 2.3.09

Protection of Civilians Weekly Report, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in East Jerusalem, January 28 to February 3, 2009 [Note: This is an abridged digest of the full document, available at the link.] -

Crossings and access. Rafah crossing - closed to Palestinians from Feb 5 onward. Only internationals will be allowed to exit Gaza. Palestinians needing medical care will be considered and allowed on a case by case basis. No more movement of cargo through this crossing will be allowed.

Damage assessment from war. UNDP estimates total or partial destruction of:
  • 14,000 homes
  • 68 governmental buildings
  • 31 non-governmental organizations
As a result, 600,000 tons of concrete rubble needs to be removed.

- NGO survey of 48 out of 61 total localities in Gaza (excluding refugee camps) found that 22.6% of housing units were damaged or destroyed (moderate damage: 16.7%; severe damage: 3.7%; destruction: 2.6%) during the invasion; damage is disproportionately in rural non-refugee areas.

- Total number of internally displaced persons Gaza: Unknown, but among localities surveyed, 71,657 people were found to be staying with others.

Electricity. Power supply has improved. In most areas, 3 8-hour power cuts each week are in effect; no cuts in Khan Younis or Rafah.

Humanitarian aid. 75% of NGOs trying to enter Gaza to help report difficulties accessing Gaza to provide assistance.
  • Feb 3 - Gaza police personnel confiscated by force 3500 blankets and 406 food parcels from an UNRWA distribution store at Beach Camp, provisions that had been meant for 500 families. UNRWA suspended delivery of aid in response.
Health. Most health facilities in the Gaza Strip have resumed normal operation. Enduring risks include:
  • Complications and excess mortality in patients with chronic diseases as a result of delayed or no access to health care during the conflict
  • Diarrhea outbreaks from water-borne and food-borne diseases due to lack of access to clean water and sanitation and weak public health surveillance system
  • Long-term mental health problems as a result of the conflict, on-going insecurity, and lack of protection
Lack of access to specialized care remains a serious concern. Estimates are that approximately half of the 5,300 injured during the invasion may suffer life-long impairment, exacerbated by the inability of rehabilitation workers to provide early intervention. Providing specialized rehabilitation to those who need it (such as by allowing them to go to one of the three centers in the West Bank that have agreed to receive patients) is especially critical given that Al Wafa Hospital, the main provider of specialist rehabilitation services in Gaza, sustained severe damage and is not yet fully operational.

Water and sanitation. 300,000 people in the Gaza Strip still have no tap water, according to the Gaza water authority. Preliminary assessment of households shows that during the operation:
  • 5,700 roof-top water tanks were completely destroyed
  • 2,900 were damaged
  • Al Atatra and Izbat Abed Rabbo had 50% of their water networks destroyed
  • Other areas sustained damage to 30% to 35% of their water networks
  • Estimate to repair water and sewage infrastructure: $6 million
  • Repairs require entry of spare parts; Israel is not clearing the parts, including PCV pipes

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