Information Note 24 February - 3 March 2009
© UNICEF oPt/2009/Pirozzi
A young girl photographed in Gaza in February 2009.
Facts and figures
-Total population of Gaza: 1,417,000. The total number of children in Gaza is approximately 793,520, or 56 per cent of the population (PCBS).
-As at the end of February, an UNRWA assessment indicates that a total of 2,350 families need to have their home reconstructed. In addition, 500 families have homes needing major repair; and 10,000 families have homes needing minor repair. These figures are likely to rise as the survey is still ongoing. Concrete, cement and other construction materials have not been allowed into Gaza since 5 November, hindering major repair of damaged houses. As of 2 March, one UNRWA emergency shelter remains open in Gaza, hosting one family (OCHA). Generally, displaced families in Gaza are living with relatives and host families.
-Humanitarian agencies have faced unprecedented denial of access to Gaza since 5 November. The amount of goods allowed in to Gaza does not meet the humanitarian needs.
-Violent incidents continue to undermine the fragile ceasefire.
-The access restrictions for specialized equipment and materials required to destroy or disarm unexploded ordnance remain the key constraints to UXO clearance operations.
UNICEF remains concerned that the nutritional status and general health of children in Gaza is likely to deteriorate given the dependency of Gazan families on food aid and cash assistance, as well as the lack of access to clean tap water.
The UNICEF-supported MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) campaign was finalized yesterday. 120,000 children in grades 7, 8 and 9 received Vitamin A and the MMR vaccine. The campaign also included health education sessions.
From 24 February to 2 March UNICEF supplied its partner on nutrition, Ard El Ensan, with 989 cartons of Plumpy Nut, 146 cartons of milk F 100 and 244 cartons of F75, which are sufficient to treat 500 moderate to severely malnourished children for a 6 month period.
Access restrictions to Gaza continue to hinder efforts to support education services. School repairs, education supplies and psychosocial support for children remain a priority in the education sector.
In the past week, 50 Early Childhood Development Kits and 57 boxes of children’s toys from UNICEF were prevented from being transported to Gaza by the Israeli authorities. According to COGAT, the Israeli civil-military liaison body, the toys were not a humanitarian priority.
Due to the severe damage to six PA schools in the northern Gaza Strip, 4,711 students (2,760 males and 1,951 girls) were relocated to seven other PA schools leading to overcrowding and double shifts. Prior to the hostilities, 151 schools out of 351 were already working in double shifts due to restrictions imposed on construction materials needed to build additional schools.
In addition, the quality of education continues to suffer due to the teacher strike in Gaza. As at 25 February, 4,193 teachers (42.8 per cent) out 9,799 registered teachers were on strike. In October, temporary teachers were hired, many of whom lack needed qualifications.
On 3 March, UNICEF distributed stationary items for 2000 teachers, including notebooks, whiteboard markers, registration books, pens and pencils to all six Gaza directorates.
Since the end of January, UNICEF has distributed the following supplies to PA schools in Gaza:
• 100,000 sets of copy books;
• 160 Science Teaching kits, benefiting up to 14,400 children;
• 166 Math Teaching kits, benefiting up to 14,900 children;
• 340 kits of School in a Box/Carton, benefiting up to 27,200 children;
• 394 recreational kits (2 for each school), benefiting up to 35,460 children;
• 6 small tents;
• 4 large school tents that can accommodate 500 students in two heavily affected schools in the North Gaza directorate. North Gaza was one of the areas most heavily affected by the crisis, with 6 schools destroyed.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
Water and sanitation infrastructure remains in a hazardous state as essential materials such as pipes and spare parts continue to be prevented entry to Gaza. As of 2 March, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that 50,000 people are still without access to piped water and an additional 100,000 receive water approximately every 7-10 days.
Between 24 February and 2 March, UNICEF, through partner organization PRCS, distributed 260 basic family water kits, benefiting up to 10,000 people in hard-hit areas. Additionally, UNICEF supplied partner organization Oxfam with 1000 baby hygiene kits for distribution to 12 clinics throughout Gaza.
UNICEF continues its support to the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) for emergency repairs and rehabilitation of water networks in Gaza. This project will benefit a total of 50,000 people in re-gaining access to tap water.
Child Protection/Adolescent Development and Participation
From 24 February to 3 March, UNICEF partner the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR) conducted activities throughout its 28 counseling points reaching out to 180 children in group sessions, 75 caregivers in sensitization sessions, 40 individual counseling cases, in addition to 45 new cases that were received by the PCDCR counseling center as well as 25 new cases on the Toll-Free line. PCDCR also conducted 3 emergency visits to injured children and continued providing training for 600 MoEHE teachers in 30 schools. In addition, UNICEF partners Tamer Institute and Maan provided 1,710 adolescents with remedial and recreational sessions in 15 adolescent friendly learning centers.
Between 24 February and 3 March, UNICEF supplied partner organization, Community Training Centre and Crisis Management (CTCCM), with three large school-tents to conduct psychosocial activities in hard-hit areas.
UNICEF is working with partners in order to set up the first seven family centers (out of a target of 30). The family centers are an integral part of UNICEF’s programme delivery in Gaza. In the first seven family centers, UNICEF’s partners will conduct remedial and recreational activities, psychosocial activities as well as MRE and First aid education.
Supplies and Logistics
As at 3 March, UNICEF has dispatched USD 3,814,287 worth of supplies into Gaza since the onset of the crisis.
New UNICEF photos and video from Gaza are available to be used by UN agencies, partners, and international media outlets. To request photos, please contact: email@example.com; to get videos, please visit: thenewsmarket.com/unicef.
Next Information Note: Tuesday, 10 March 2009.