Posted on 1 May 2020

Gaza Strip: Snapshot | March 2020

Monthly highlights

  • In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, passenger crossings with Egypt and Israel were largely closed since mid-March for the exit of people, while those returning to Gaza were sent to quarantine sites.
  • Sharp increase in the volume of goods entering Gaza via Israel and Egypt.
  • Rise in the percentage of essential drugs at zero stock level.
  • Relative calm continues: no conflict-related fatality recorded during the month. 

Protection of civilians and casualties

  • A Palestinian armed group fired a rocket towards Israel and the Israeli air force carried out an air strike in Gaza in response, resulting in no injuries.
  • On at least 65 occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire near the perimeter fence and off the coast of Gaza: a fisherman and a man who attempted to infiltrate into Israel were injured.
  • Demonstrations commemorating the second anniversary of the Great March of Return (GMR) cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On 5 March, a fire triggered by the explosion of gas cylinders at a bakery in a market in Al Nussairat Camp killed 25 people, including four children, and injured another 44.

Comprehensive data on conflict-related casualties is available at OCHA’s interactive database. Click here

* Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in confrontations along the fence and in airstrikes and shelling elsewhere inside Gaza. (fatality figures include people who died of wounds sustained in previous months)

**Israeli casualties include Israelis killed and injured by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip in Israel. 

Access

  • Exits through the Erez crossing with Israel largely stopped since 12 March in the context of COVID--19 crisis, except emergency cases and cancer patients, resulting in a 74 per cent decrease in exits compared to February (5,800 vs. 22,000). 
  • 58 per cent of applications for exit permits by patients referred to West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israeli hospitals were approved, down from 70 per cent in February; the number of applications declined by 27 per cent.
  • Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Rafah Crossing with Egypt was shut down for passengers leaving Gaza on 15 March, and for incoming people on 22 March, resulting in a 66 and 33 per cent decline in exits and entries respectively. 
  • All people entering Gaza via the two crossings were sent to quarantine centers, initially for 14 days and later on for 21 days (For additional details see OCHA’s weekly Situation Report).
  • The Israeli Kerem Shalom and the Egyptian Rafah commercial crossings operated normally, recording an increase of 38 and 53 per cent, respectively in the volume of imports compared to the previous month.

Comprehensive data on Gaza crossings is available at OCHA’s interactive database. Click here

Source: OCHA/Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs Source: OCHA/Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs
Source: OCHA/Palestinian Ministry of National Economy Source: OCHA/Palestinian Ministry of National Economy

Services, Livelihoods and Shelter

  • The percentage of essential drugs at zero stock level in Gaza’s Central Drug Store increased from 39 per cent, in February, to 44 per cent, in March.
  • Electricity supply reached an average of 14 hours per day, the highest level since June 2019. Qatar announced the continuation of its support for the purchase of fuel to the Gaza Power Plant for another six months.
  • Water supply to households reached 85 liters per capita per day (l/c/d) compared to a monthly average of 80 l/c/d in the preceding 12 months. This is attributed to the increased power supply, alongside greater demand in connection to hygiene practices adopted to prevent COVID-19.
  • Also related to the increased power supply, the pollution levels of wastewater discharged to the sea were the lowest recorded since January 2017.
  • Two children were killed and another two injured during a rain and wind storm on 13 March; the homes of 281 families in Khan Younis sustained damage requiring non-food items and shelter rehabilitation assistance.
  • A Limb Reconstruction Centre serving Palestinians injured during the GMR demonstrations was opened (for details on the impact of such injuries see OCHA’s Humanitarian Bulletin).

An interactive database on electricity supply in Gaza is available at OCHA’s website. Click here

Source: WASH cluster/CMWU

Source: WHO