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Gaza Situation - Report 35

24 hour reports by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)

Due to the dramatic escalation in violence over the past few days and the massive assault on Gaza, UNRWA has declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip. It is closely monitoring the situation and stands ready to mount an emergency response should that become necessary. The priority for the Agency has now shifted to emergency operations, providing assistance to those who have been displaced and sought shelter in UNRWA schools, while attempting to continue regular operations. Urgent funding needs persist and are increasing

Key parts:

Whilst a permanent halt to violence is crucial, a return to the status quo of the blockade is not a solution. The Israeli blockade must be lifted so that Palestinians can take control of their lives instead of being trapped in a man-made cycle of aid dependency and poverty.

Displaced in the UNRWA schools are anxious about their future in the Gaza Strip. Many ask whether they will have to leave if the new school year starts, whether UNRWA will support to repair or replace their homes. A Palestinian woman from Beit Lahia, who is displaced with her family for the third time over the course of the past 6 years after returning from Europe to live in Gaza, told an UNRWA staff: 'What we need is peace. The situation is better here than outside the schools, at least we have food, water, electricity and a roof. A counselor is coming every day. But where will we go from here? Where will we live? Where will we work?'

The IDP numbers in UNRWA shelters remain fluid. As of yesterday 11 August 16:30, 27,396 IDPs had left UNRWA schools, but at least some are expected to return after having visited their homes. Some come back to the UNRWA shelters as they have nothing to eat and no water at home, or return if they find their house uninhabitable or have no family or friends to provide them with a temporary home. 209,522 IDPs were sheltered yesterday in 88 UNRWA schools. 2 shelters were closed in the Middle Area as the displaced relocated to another UNRWA school which already serves as a shelter. 48.7 per cent of the overall displaced in UNRWA schools are female, and 51.2 per cent are male. This proportion is similar to the pattern of the overall Gaza population.”

Whilst data on damage to UNRWA installations is according to preliminary information and subject to change based on further verification, particularly in those areas pending unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance, UNRWA estimates that at least 103 installations have been damaged since 8 July 2014, the majority being UNRWA schools. There is also recorded damage to health centers, sanitation and social services facilities, and the UNRWA compound in Gaza City. Some of UNRWA installations were damaged on multiple occasions.

Since the last update, the Protection Cluster recorded 2 additional fatalities. According to UN information, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 1962. 1417 are believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 238 women.

UNRWA has started distributing maternity packages to new mothers who have given birth during the current hostilities, and who are registered as IDPs in its shelters across the Gaza Strip. A total of 344 new babies are starting their life as IDPs in UNRWA schools, 152 girls and 192 boys.

UNRWA’s regular food distribution to a total caseload of over 830,000 beneficiaries continued. Food rations were provided to 3,123 families through all 12 UNRWA distribution centers.”

Under the UNRWA/WFP exceptional food distribution to 143,000 families not currently receiving regular food aid from the two agencies, 7,902 rations were distributed through 12 UNRWA distribution centers.”

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