Occupied Palestinian Territory: A deteriorating crisis - Gaza and the West Bank

by Elisabeth Gouel | https://twitter.com/actalliance | ACT Alliance - Switzerland
Friday, 11 July 2014 14:53 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Occupied Palestinian Territory

A Deteriorating Crisis: Gaza and the West Bank

Geneva, 11 July 2014

1.    Brief description of the emergency and impact

On the night of 7th July, 2014, Israeli army launched a large military operation in the Gaza Strip. Attacks included aerial and navy raids all across the Gaza Strip affecting 1.8 million population living in the world’s most densely populated area (4,930 per Km2). Ministry of Health (MoH) reported on 11th July (07:00am), that 98 Palestinians have been killed, including 21 children under 18 years, 15 women, and 20 older people, and 670 wounded, including 71 children and 66 women. OCHA reported that over 342 residential houses have been fully destroyed leaving at least 2,000 displaced. 2 schools are being used as field hospitals due to lack of space and capacity of hospitals. Hospitals called on the public to donate blood and medical disposables due to the overwhelming number of casualties. 13 schools sustained major damages. Initial reports suggest a large number of women and children are traumatized and terrified by the massive raids and are requesting support.

2.    Why is an ACT response needed?

A response is critically important as existing national systems are overwhelmed and unable to respond to rapidly increasing needs due to 7 years of on-going Israeli blockade. MoH has cut short primary healthcare and cancelled non-urgent surgeries to cope with severe shortage of essential drugs and medical supplies. Ambulance services reduced to 50% due to lack of fuel. The sole Israeli-controlled commercial crossing has reduced entry of humanitarian assistance and goods by 70% leaving the entire population vulnerable to food insecurity which according to UN stands at 50% of population. A lack of response warns of a complete collapse of overwhelmed systems. The provision of basic healthcare services making medicine, food and fuel available to people would definitely contribute to easing the crisis in coordination with other key stakeholders.

3.    National and international response

UN Humanitarian Coordinator declared an emergency in Gaza and activated the contingency plan. UN clusters are active, but are temporarily unable to meet due to safety and security concerns over movement. ACT Palestine Forum is active on the ground and meets on a monthly basis. The forum produces day-to-day situation updates on developments and changes in needs, in addition to sitreps shared by UN and OCHA. Long-standing health NGOs fill in some gaps via internal referral. There are good existing local networks between local CBOs and national and international NGOs and UN which facilitates access and ensures reaching out for people most in need of help.

4.    ACT Alliance response

This conflict erupted on 7th July. No assistance has been delivered to affected people yet. However, ACT Palestine Forum is meeting regularly to build a coordinated response with all members and their local partners. The current ACT appeal for Palestine PSE141 will be revised due to current and recent updated situation, especially in the Gaza Strip. Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) will join the ACT appeal as additional requesting member to support the Al Ahli Arab Hospital.

5.    Planned activities

ACT Alliance member, the Department of Support to Palestinian Refugees of the Middle East Council of Churches (DSPR/MECC) and its partner in Gaza the Near East Council of Churches (NECC) will continue supporting through
•    Medication to ensure availability of primary healthcare for mother and child services at NECC’s 3 outpatient clinics in eastern Gaza City, and in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip ($30,000USD required)
•    Cash relief of $100 to 500 families badly affected by the ongoing offensive ($50,000USD required)
•    Provision of psychosocial support to NECC’s staff and beneficiaries at NECC’s 3 clinics and 4 vocational training centers across the Gaza Strip ($20,000USD required)
ACT Alliance member, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) will support the Ahli Arab Hospital through
•    $20,000 worth of fuel is urgently needed to keep the hospital operational around the clock
•    $50,000 worth of medications and medical supplies is urgently needed to provide comprehensive in-patient services to 300 wounded and 500 non-injured patients.
•    Provision of psychosocial support to 5,000 women and children victims affected by the ongoing offensive all across the Gaza Strip through AAH’s network of grassroots CBOs

6.    Constraints

Current constraints include high level of unpredictability of the situation. If Israel decided to move ahead with a ground operation, access to rural communities will become a challenge. Other constraints include: closure of banks in Gaza, closure of crossings, unavailability of supplies in the local market and, safety of staff to move.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (jbi@actalliance.org)