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MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Occupied Palestinian Territory

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0042/El Baba

Children walk amidst destroyed buildings in the refugee camp in Rafah, following the late-2008/early-2009 Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip. The destruction of infrastructure and an ongoing economic blockade continue to limit recovery.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

The Occupied Palestinian Territory is still reeling from the spill-over effects of years of conflict and from multiple political and economic crises in 2009, particularly in Gaza where January’s military incursions destroyed social services infrastructure and homes.  Due to an Israeli blockade and an increase in restrictions on the movement of goods and people in and out of the Gaza Strip, families are increasingly finding themselves without reliable access to basic health and nutrition care services, safe drinking water or sufficient sanitation facilities, all of which are on the verge of collapse. The humanitarian needs of those living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are also becoming more acute because of water scarcity as sources are closed off to establish settlements and military zones.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

In 2010, UNICEF will work with the Palestinian Authority, NGO partners and other United Nations agencies to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs of more than 4 million people, including over 2 million children.  UNICEF will focus on facilitating access to essential health and nutrition services, safe drinking water, appropriate sanitation and hygiene, and education, as well as reducing psychosocial distress. UNICEF will also promote a coordinated approach to emergency preparedness, strengthening of sector capacity and high level advocacy through its leadership of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Education Clusters, the Nutrition and Child Protection Sub-Clusters, and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Working Group. Following are the expected results of UNICEF’s emergency interventions:

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will provide immediate response to the high levels of micronutrient deficiency in children and will address the health care needs of neonates, high risk pregnant and lactating women as well as children under five. UNICEF’s goal is to build stronger national health systems that provide essential maternal, newborn and child health care.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): The priority is to increase access to safe water and to improve sanitation facilities and hygiene practices in order to minimize the impact of poor water and sanitation on the health of communities and the environment through rehabilitation of water supply in schools, communities and health centres to benefit an estimated 200,000 people in the most conflict-affected areas.

Education: UNICEF will address the challenges faced by students in the most vulnerable and marginalized areas to ensure access for students and teachers to quality basic education services in their communities. In partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, UNICEF will work to strengthen national systems for basic education services.

Child Protection: UNICEF together with the Ministry of Social Affairs and NGO partners will respond to a situation where over 626,000 children and caregivers are vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation. UNICEF will continue to provide inter-agency leadership on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1612 and 1882 by strengthening monitoring, referral and reporting of grave violations of children affected by armed conflict.

Adolescents: UNICEF together with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Social Affairs and NGO partners will provide remedial and recreational activities to an estimated 200,000 adolescents (girls and boys aged 13–18 years). The overall goal to improve secondary school retention, reduce violence, enhance adolescent participation, raise awareness on healthy lifestyles and improve national youth policy.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 1,300,000
Nutrition 1,450,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 3,690,000
Education 8,300,000
Child Protection 8,000,000
Adolescents 5,500,000
Total 28,240,000