In 1998, the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs became the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), establishing dozens of field offices around the world since then.
In September 2000, the Second Intifada started in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt); violence escalated, many people were killed or injured regularly, and humanitarian conditions deteriorated. Shortly thereafter, at the request of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), OCHA deployed staff to the oPt to serve as focal point for the humanitarian situation. Additional staff arrived following another escalation in spring 2002.
That year (2002), Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon requested support from the UN in addressing the needs of Palestinians. Subsequently, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent his Personal Humanitarian Envoy, Catherine Bertini, to assess the humanitarian situation in the oPt. In 2003, following her recommendations, the Secretary-General approved the creation of an OCHA office in the oPt.
We established our oPt headquarters in East Jerusalem, and subsequently opened a sub-office in Gaza. Later, we formed field coordination units in Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron, covering the northern, central and southern West Bank respectively