Humanitarian situation in Gaza | Flash Update #4 as of 17:00, 13 May 2023
Hostilities between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza continued for the fifth consecutive day, resulting in further casualties and damage to property, and further worsening the humanitarian situation.
According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), as of 17:00 on 13 May, the total number of Palestinian fatalities has risen to 34, including at least 13 civilians, six members of armed groups, and 15 people whose status is yet to be confirmed. Among the 13 civilians were four girls, three boys, four women and two men. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 147 Palestinians, including 48 children and 26 women, were injured between 9 May and 17:00 on 13 May.
Up to 17:00 on 13 May, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) had verified one Israeli woman fatality. According to Magen David Adom and hospitals in Israel, at least 37 people have received medical treatment for physical injuries, alongside people treated for shock.
Damage to essential infrastructure has been reported across the Gaza strip. Over the night of 12 May, airstrikes near health facilities reportedly damaged Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah and the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza, in addition to two primary health care clinics in Khan Younis and northern Gaza. Separately, shrapnel fell inside two additional UNRWA schools, bringing to four the total number of UNRWA Schools where shrapnel has been discovered since the beginning of the current round of hostilities.
Internal displacement is increasing. As of 15.00 on 13 May, 177 Palestinian families, comprising 948 people, have been internally displaced, either because their homes have been damaged, or even destroyed, or due to safety concerns. Out of the internally displaced persons, 43 people are staying in an UNRWA school in Beit Lahiya. According to the Ministry of Public Works and Housing in Gaza, 940 housing units have been damaged, including 51 that were destroyed, 49 that were severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable, and others that sustained less severe damage.
For the fifth consecutive day, both Israeli-controlled crossings, Erez (for people) and Kerem Shalom (for goods), were closed. According to the MoH in Gaza, hundreds of patients and their companions are unable to reach essential medical care in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or in Israel; among them are cancer patients and others with chronic conditions.
The closure of Kerem Shalom crossing has prevented the entry of vital items such as food, medical supplies and fuel, at a volume of over 300 truckloads per day. The Gaza Power Plant, which depends on regular fuel deliveries through Kerem Shalom crossing, is due to run out of fuel on Monday, after one of the three operating turbines was shut down on 10 May. This has affected the provision of basic services including water, sanitation and health. Food supply trucks of the World Food Programme are ready and on standby but could not be dispatched from Israel into Gaza. Fodder supplies are expected to run out in a week should no replenishment be made.
Fishing at sea has been prohibited by the local authorities for five consecutive days, affecting more than 4,400 fishermen and their families, who rely on fishing as their main source of income. Farmers are unable to safely access farmlands near the Israeli perimeter fence for irrigation, harvesting, feeding livestock and other essential activities, critically undermining their livelihoods and leading to scarcity of fresh vegetables and other food commodities in local markets.
The ongoing exchange of fire has taken a severe toll on the mental health of people, particularly children, who are living in a constant state of fear and panic.
Referring to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza, the executive director of UNICEF has stated that she “deplores all acts of violence against children and calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and for all parties to protect children from all forms of violence and grave violations, in accordance with international law, including international humanitarian law.”
Additional casualties were reported after this reporting period and will be covered in the next report.
Devastation in a residential area of Gaza following an Israeli airstrike, 13 May 2023. Credit: OCHA