State of Palestine Appeal
Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
State of Palestine snapshot
- The protracted protection crisis in the State of Palestine, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, has continued to impact children. More than 2.2 million people need humanitarian aid and over 1 million children living in the Gaza Strip have difficulty accessing essential services.
- UNICEF will provide life-saving health and nutrition interventions and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services through the construction of water and wastewater networks and facilities. UNICEF will also provide safe access to quality and inclusive learning, support child protection systems and facilitate easy access to psychosocial support, specialized case management referrals, legal aid and counselling.
- In 2021, UNICEF requires US$25.2 million to respond to the humanitarian situation in the State of Palestine; enhance the capacities of shock-responsive social protection mechanisms; and continue and expand services to meet the needs of vulnerable children, adolescents and women.
Key planned results for 2021
449,000 children and women accessing health care
100,000 people accessing a sufficient quantity of safe water
200 schools implementing safe school protocols
4.5 million people reached through messaging on access to services
Funding requirements for 2021
Country needs and strategy
The State of Palestine is experiencing a protracted humanitarian crisis related to the political situation and the ongoing socio-economic and fiscal crisis, which has left 2.2 million Palestinians increasingly vulnerable to violence, hardship and lack of essential services.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Palestinians, especially in vulnerable areas such as East Jerusalem, H2 in Hebron and the West Bank’s Area C. More than 750,000 people are in need of humanitarian aid.
As of September 2020, more than 47,000 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Fifty-three per cent of confirmed cases are among women and 23 per cent are among children. Prior to the outbreak, around one quarter of Palestinians lived below the poverty line, including 53 per cent of the population in the Gaza Strip and 14 per cent of the population of the West Bank. According to preliminary estimates, the proportion of poor households will increase to 64 percent in the Gaza Strip and 30 per cent in the West Bank, due to the pandemic and related control measures.
In the Gaza Strip, 1 million children have limited access to essential services, and at least 500,000 children having restricted access to safe and clean drinking water. Insufficient access to water has increased the burdens on women and girls as primary household caretakers, and led to heightened risks of gender-based violence. The continuity of essential neonatal maternal health and nutrition services has been disrupted. The growing medical and psychosocial needs in the Gaza Strip are overwhelming the capacities of health and child protection service providers. Nearly 504,000 people need education assistance across the State of Palestine. This includes over 489,000 children (234,516 girls), nearly 9,800 of whom are living with a disability.
The closure of the Gaza Strip to “dual use” items has meant that the transfer of essential goods, including fuel, is sometimes constrained. This affects the operation and maintenance of vital water and sanitation infrastructure as well as the Gaza Strip’s only power plant. Consequently, frequent power outages are a major concern, especially the impact on already overburdened hospitals and quarantine centres where electricity is required to contain the spread of COVID-19 and run incubators in neonatal intensive care wards.
In 2021, UNICEF will collaborate closely with partners to foster synergies between humanitarian action and development programmes in the State of Palestine. This will involve working with humanitarian and development actors to identify synergies and efficiencies to better and more quickly integrate programming to reach the most vulnerable communities, households and individuals. UNICEF has expanded its partnerships with national and local actors for humanitarian response, and is supporting these partners to build their programmatic and operational capacities, including to improve the delivery of remote programming and enhance accountability to affected populations.
The Ministry of Health and partners will be supported to provide early interventions to high-risk pregnant and lactating women and children with developmental delays and disabilities. In partnership with WHO, UNICEF will continue to support essential health care services during the COVID-19 pandemic, including protection for on-duty health workers.
UNICEF will facilitate access to sufficient and safe drinking water and ensure that no deterioration or collapse in essential services occurs during the pandemic. This will include the regular provision of operation and maintenance materials and cleaning and sanitizing tools.
The Ministry of Education and partners will be supported to reach Palestinian children and adolescents with safe access to quality and inclusive learning. This will include distance learning for girls and boys in remote areas who have limited access to the Internet through the provision of interactive self-paced offline learning materials. UNICEF will also support the safe return of students, teachers and service providers to schools during the COVID-19 crisis by facilitating the implementation of safe school protocols for infection prevention and control in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and others.
UNICEF will continue to prioritize and strengthen child protection systems, facilitate access to comprehensive gender-based violence services, and support Palestinian authorities to operationalize their COVID-19 emergency response plan. Through the National Cash Transfer Programme, UNICEF will pilot shock-responsive social protection mechanisms with the Ministry of Social Development and other partners to support vulnerable households thrown into poverty by the pandemic.
In addition, UNICEF will coordinate with stakeholders to reach and engage 4.5 million people with critical information on COVID-19, and strengthen accountability for community members through established feedback mechanisms. Working with United Nations agencies and humanitarian and development actors, UNICEF will strengthen systems for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in the State of Palestine; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.