© UNICEF/NYHQ2008-0152

The Shahre family’s children read by candlelight in the dark in Gaza. Frequent power outages due to fuel blockades are just one result of a conflict that has lasted more than six decades.


Since 27 December 2008, Israel’s military offensive on Gaza has exposed the already vulnerable population to even more physical and psychological damage. On 18 January 2009, the Ministry of Health reported that a total of 1,300 people had been killed and 5,300 injured since the beginning of the Israeli military operation. During the same period, 410 children and 104 women were killed and 1,855 children and 795 women injured. Exact figures are not available due to insecurity, the rising number of casualties, and the difficulty in extracting the injured from collapsed buildings.

In addition to the worrying situation in Gaza, the worst drought in a decade is hammering the West Bank. Some
80,000 m3 of raw or untreated sewage are released daily into the sea. One in ten children is stunted (Palestinian Central Bureau for Statistics, 2007). Basic education enrolment has dropped from 96.8 per cent in 2000–2001 to 91.2 per cent in 2006–2007. In 2008, only 19.7 per cent of 16,000 sixth-graders passed standardized tests. Some 30 per cent of adolescents do not enrol in secondary school. At end-August 2008, 293 children remained in Israeli prisons and detention facilities.


UNICEF has the sector lead in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, nutrition and child protection (psychosocial support), and participates in the health sector. UNICEF’s humanitarian assistance programme will target 1.8 million children and 0.9 million women in 2009.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will procure and distribute vaccines, essential emergency drugs, kits and equipment to 96 health centres; distribute micronutrients to 225,000 children and postpartum women; support six community therapeutic feeding centres; and train 300 health staff in treating severe malnutrition as well as other standard childcare case management.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide 350,000 affected persons and communities with safe water and sanitation by constructing/rehabilitating wells and sanitary facilities; train 18 water authority management teams in information management and water quality monitoring; and promote hygiene education in 40 schools and
15 communities.

Education: UNICEF will provide remedial education for 5,000 students in vulnerable areas of the West Bank and Gaza; equip 500 primary schools and 100 kindergartens with quality teaching and learning materials; train 2,000 teachers, 500 school principals and 1,000 parents in remedial education; and perform minor repairs to 300 damaged schools.

Child Protection: UNICEF will provide psychosocial support mechanisms to strengthen the coping and protection capacity of children affected by the ongoing conflict. Frontline services will be provided to 75,000 children and 20,300 women as well as 15,000 fathers. Some 460 professionals will be trained on emergency services for children and caregivers.

Adolescents: UNICEF will work to improve secondary school retention, reduce violence and raise awareness about healthy lifestyles. Through 70 adolescent-friendly learning spaces and 100 safe play areas, UNICEF will reach around 170,000 adolescents with remedial education, recreational activities and psychosocial support.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 9,508,650
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 7,883,222
Education 8,313,600
Child Protection 11,494,850
Adolescents 5,027,700
Total** 42,228,022***

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.
*** This amount includes the revised requirements of the CAP 2009 and the UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update (14 January 2009) in response to the Gaza crisis. The UNICEF requirements are likely to further increase as the humanitarians will most likely be granted access to conduct needs assessments in Gaza strip conflict areas.