OCHA flash update 63
As always, paragraphs starting with a "-" are direct quotes. Where this is absent I am summarising information from the update.
Hostilities and casualties
Residential buildings continue to be attacked.
- According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 8 December afternoon, at least 17,487 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, about 70 per cent of whom are said to be women and children, and over 46,000 are reportedly injured.
- Many more people are missing, presumably under the rubble, waiting rescue or recovery. On 8 December, the head of the Palestinian Civil Defence in northern Gaza stated in the media that, due to the lack fuel, rescuers have been left with just one operational vehicle.
- Since 3 December, tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived in Rafah, the majority coming from the adjacent Khan Younis governorate, following evacuation orders issued by Israeli forces and ongoing bombardments and fighting. For many IDPs, this is the second or third displacement they have experienced since 7 October. In Rafah, they are subject to extreme overcrowded conditions with no empty space to shelter, not even in the streets and or other open areas. Thousands of people wait for hours in large crowds around aid distribution centres, in desperate need of food, water, shelter, health, and protection.
- The Secretary-General also noted that, “the people of Gaza are being told to move like human pinballs – ricocheting between ever-smaller slivers of the south, without any of the basics for survival. But nowhere in Gaza is safe.”
- On 1 December, the Israeli military issued a detailed online map, where the Gaza Strip is divided into hundreds of small areas. Reportedly, the map is intended to facilitate orders to evacuate people to specific areas ahead of their targeting. Since then, various areas, encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip, have been marked for evacuation. The ability of residents to access this information is impaired by the recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity to charge electronic devices.
- As of 6 December, according to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, were estimated to be internally displaced. Nearly 1.2 million of these IDPs were registered in 151 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, of whom about one million are registered in 94 UNRWA shelters in the south.
I'm just going to emphasise those numbers - 1.9 million people
of the population have been forced to leave their homes in the last two months.
Two months and counting without electricity.
Healthcare, including attacks
- On 8 December, Al Amal Hospital and the adjacent headquarters of the Palestine Red Crescent Society's (PRCS), in Khan Younis, and the Yaffa Hospital in Deir Al Balah, were hit and damaged during bombardments, while it is unclear if there have been casualties. The PRCS facilities are currently sheltering about 14,000 IDPs. These two hospitals are among 12 hospitals in the south which are partially operational.
- The European Gaza Hospital, one of the largest in the south, reported critical shortages of drugs, blood products and medical supplies. Fuel to run the hospitals is being strictly rationed. Many patients are being treated on the floor and without anaesthetics. While its normal capacity is 370 patients, it is currently treating about 1,000, and sheltering another 70,000 IDPs .
- For the second consecutive day, Al Awda Hospital in Jabalia is surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks, and fighting is ongoing in its vicinity. On 8 December, a doctor in this facility was reportedly shot and killed. This is one of the two hospitals in the north that has been partially operational and admitting patients. Another two hospitals are providing just dialysis treatment.
- On 7 December, PRCS [Palestine Red Crescent Society] announced that the operations at their ambulance centre in the north of Gaza had come to a halt. The depletion of fuel for vehicles and closure of hospitals operating in the northern region had made it impossible to evacuate wounded people.
- During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), WFP conducted a rapid food security assessment across the Strip involving a sample of 399 households. Severe hunger was found in 36 per cent of respondent households and moderate hunger in another 52 per cent. In 91 per cent of the households, respondents reported going to bed hungry, and 63 per cent reported enduring entire days without food. The situation is significantly worse in the north.
Water and sanitation
- On 8 December, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) distributed fuel provided by UNRWA to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in Rafah, enabling them to run generators for seven days.
- On 8 December, the Gaza Municipality reported that sewage was flowing in the streets after all pumping stations had ceased operations due to lack of fuel. The municipality also reported that all but three water wells had also stopped working due to the same reasons.
- In the absence of toilets for the IDPs that have recently arrived in Rafah, open air defecation is widespread, increasing concerns of disease spreading, particularly during rains and related flooding.