MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Occupied Palestinian Territory
Children returning from school pass through an Israeli military checkpoint in Ras Atiya Village in the West Bank. The ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza and heightened political tensions throughout OPT continue to disrupt children’s lives.
Children and Women in Crisis
The protracted conflict and Israeli military occupation continue to take a toll on the children and women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, resulting in the death of 15 children and the injury of 351 children between January and October 2011.1 Demolitions of homes, schools and health-care centres continue to cause disruption in services basic to human rights, such as education and health care. Heightened regional tension during the ‘Arab Spring’, coupled with internal political reconciliation and statehood application have brought about further strain. The Israeli blockade on Gaza has entered its sixth year, with continued serious humanitarian consequences for 1.6 million people, of which more than 50 per cent are under age 18.2 Limited access to goods, services and human resources presents a daily challenge for citizens as well as the humanitarian aid community.
Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012
UNICEF leads the WASH cluster, the child protection working group and the Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territory working group on grave violations against children, and co-leads the education cluster in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. UNICEF also contributes to the health, food security and nutrition clusters. Together with the Government of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, other UN agencies and NGOs, UNICEF will provide an effective emergency response to reach 1.8 million children and women (including more than 803,000 children, 240,000 women and 68,000 caregivers) through well-informed, collective and coordinated interventions.
- About 280,000 children and 120,000 women will benefit from mobile clinics, provision of essential drugs and medical commodities. At least 210,000 children and 110,000 women will receive nutritional support through micronutrient supplementation and promotion of exclusive breastfeeding through post-natal home visits. They will benefit from the implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative3 in five hospitals (two in the West Bank and three in Gaza)..
- Access to safe water and sanitation will be provided to approximately 20,000 children and 10,000 women through water tanks, rehabilitated sanitation facilities and installation of water and sewage pipes.
- As many as 4,800 children will have safe access to education and 12,600 adolescents will benefit from alternate learning opportunities, while nearly 1,500 parents and school staff will have improved capacity to work with adolescents in emergencies.
- Protection and psychosocial support will be provided to about 157,000 children. An estimated 61,000 caregivers will be trained in protection and coping skills, and some 4,000 professionals and volunteers will be mobilized in child protection networks, family centres and child safe spaces.
Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011
In 2011, UNICEF estimated that US$18,295,000 was needed to fund its humanitarian work in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. As of end October 2011, a total of US$11,274,979 (62 per cent) had been received. UNICEF used these funds to counsel about 18,000 mothers on exclusive breastfeeding, and to provide micronutrient supplementation for 210,000 children and 105,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women. UNICEF also supplied access to safe drinking water for 51,000 people (out of a planned figure of 207,000), improved sanitation through emergency repairs of water and sewage networks, and rehabilitated WASH facilities in 39 schools to benefit 23,000 children and about 800 teachers. Improved access to basic education benefited nearly 14,000 children. Access to alternative learning opportunities was provided for close to 19,000 adolescents at risk of dropping out of school, more than the planned goal of 13,500. Protection and psychosocial services, including group and individual counseling, helped 16,000 girls and boys and more than 4,000 caregivers; emergency and individual counseling benefited about 660 children; and 400 professionals and volunteers received improved knowledge and skills to better support children and caregivers' resilience and coping mechanisms.
Fuding Requirements for 2012
UNICEF requests US$15,436,000 for its humanitarian work in 2012. UNICEF has aligned the request with the 2012 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) requirements. Without the funding, children and women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory will not have basic needs met in terms of clean water, quality education, protection, health and nutrition.
1 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘Children Affected by Armed Conflict (CAAC) Bulletin: Israel & the Occupied Palestinian Territory’, UNICEF, New York, September 2011, p. 2.
2 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory: Humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip’, OCHA, East Jerusalem, July 2011, p. 1.
3 United Nations Children’s Fund, ‘The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative’. UNICEF, New York, www.unicef.org/nutrition/index_24806.html.