Five months into the ongoing hostilities in Gaza, the scarcity of food, water and medical care has left many struggling to survive, particularly pregnant women and new mothers. Photo by UNRWA
Five months into the ongoing hostilities in Gaza, the scarcity of food, water and medical care has left many struggling to survive, particularly pregnant women and new mothers. Photo by UNRWA

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #135

Key Highlights

  • Pregnant women and new mothers in Gaza are struggling to keep themselves and their babies alive, amid critical shortages of food, water and medical care.
  • An estimated 8,000 patients need to be medically evacuated from Gaza, including over 6,000 trauma-related patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Less than one per cent of funding raised through the 2023 Flash Appeal has gone to national or local women’s rights organizations, UN Women reports.

Gaza Strip Updates

  • Intense Israeli bombardment and ground operations as well as heavy fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continue to be reported across much of the Gaza Strip, resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure. On 8 March, the Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, Jeremy Laurence, warned: “Any ground assault on Rafah would incur massive loss of life and would heighten the risk of further atrocity crimes. This must not be allowed to happen. We also fear that further Israeli restrictions on access by Palestinians to East Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan could further inflame tensions.”
  • Between the afternoon of 7 March and 10:30 on 8 March, according to the MoH in Gaza, 78 Palestinians were killed, and 104 Palestinians were injured. Between 7 October 2023 and 10:30 on 8 March 2024, at least 30,878 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 72,402 Palestinians were injured, according to MoH in Gaza.
  • The following are among the deadly incidents reported on 6 March:
    • At about 15:00, seven Palestinians were reportedly killed when a bus in Az Zaitoun neighbourhood in Gaza city was hit.
    • At about 15:15, five Palestinians were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a mosque in Jabalya city, North Gaza, was hit.
    • At about 20:00, five Palestinians were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a house in western An Nuseirat, Deir al Balah, was hit.
    • At about 21:30, at least 12 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a house in southern Deir al Balah was hit.
    • The bodies of 29 Palestinians reportedly killed in various areas in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, were recovered.
    • At about 9:40, four Palestinians were reportedly killed, and seven others injured, when a group of people on a street in Bani Suheila, in northeastern Khan Younis, was hit.
  • Between the afternoons of 7 and 8 March, the Israeli military reported of no Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza. As of 8 March, 245 soldiers have been killed and 1,469 soldiers injured in Gaza since the beginning of the ground operation, according to the Israeli military. In addition, over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, the vast majority on 7 October, Israeli figures indicate. As of 8 March, the Israeli authorities estimate that 134 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza, including fatalities whose bodies are withheld.
  • In a press release to mark International Women’s Day, Islamic Relief reported that pregnant women and new mothers in Gaza are facing a constant struggle to keep themselves and their babies alive, amid life-threatening shortages of food, water and medical care. Islamic Relief staff in Gaza report pregnant women enduring C-sections without anaesthetic or painkillers, newborns starving to death, and a shortage of menstrual hygiene materials, leading to women and girls developing infections as they resort to using any scraps of cloth or torn clothing they can find. There are about 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza and, every day, about 180 women give birth amid the rubble or in tents or cars, because they can’t access hospital or medical facilities, the organization said, adding that pregnant women and newborns have repeatedly been forced to evacuate hospitals and aid workers report a big increase in premature births due to the extreme levels of stress. According to the press release, with pregnant women and new mothers at especially high risk of malnutrition, relatives and partners forego their own food for them, but most women in Gaza are now going whole days without eating. Many new mothers face dehydration because they can’t get enough water, making it even harder for them to breastfeed. According to CARE: “Our partners are telling us that the shelters they are running see women burying their newborns every day, as they do not have access to critical medical care, or simply because there is no way to feed them.” The International Federation of Journalists, noting that thirteen women journalists have lost their lives in Gaza since the start of the conflict, stated that the “work of women journalists in Gaza is instrumental in bringing global attention to the situation and provides another perspective on the war” and restated “the absolute necessity for all journalists to report freely and safely from Gaza.”
  • On 6 March, the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced the names of 42 Palestinian patients scheduled to travel to Egypt through the Rafah Crossing for medical treatment. According to WHO, an estimated 8,000 patients need to be medically evacuated from Gaza, including over 6,000 trauma-related patients, and 2,000 patients with serious chronic conditions, such as cancer. Of the 36 hospitals in Gaza, 12 are partially functioning, one is minimally functioning and 23 are non-functional. Two field hospitals are fully functional and the third is minimally functioning. Only 20 of 80 primary health care facilities in Gaza are now functional. The damage to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis during the Israeli military operation in February has rendered it non-functional; the Israeli military alleged that the hospital was used by Palestinian combatants for military purposes. Of the 27 UN attempts to reach Nasser hospital in February, only 12 missions were initially coordinated by the Israeli military and, of them, only six were facilitated, reaching their destination. The access of Emergency Medical Teams (EMT) to northern Gaza hospitals has not been possible due to the security situation, there are no EMTs in the area. In February, only six of 24 planned missions to areas north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities. The low number of planned missions is primarily due to an operational pause, after a UN-coordinated food convoy was struck by Israeli naval fire on 5 February. On 1 March, WHO led two life-saving missions to northern Gaza, to provide essential fuel and medical supplies: on 1 March to Shifa hospital to deliver 19,000 litres of fuel and critical medical supplies; and on 3 March to Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan hospitals, providing 19,500 litres of fuel for each hospital, in addition to essential medical supplies.

West Bank Updates

  • According to initial reports, on 8 March, Israeli forces surrounded the house of a wanted Palestinian suspect in Silat Al Harithiya village in Jenin governorate and exchanged fire with Palestinians. The Israeli army then informed the Palestinian District Coordination Office of one Palestinian fatality and are withholding the body. Since 7 October, 417 Palestinians have been killed and 4,665 Palestinians have been injured, including 718 children, in conflict-related incidents across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 102 Palestinians have been killed, compared with 71 in the same period in 2023, the majority by Israeli forces.
  • Since 7 October 15 Israelis, including four members of Israeli forces, have been killed and 90 injured in conflict-related incidents in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.
  • Since 7 October 2023, a total of 1,620 Palestinians, including 710 children, have been displaced across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, because of the demolition of their homes. More than half of them were displaced during military operations, mainly in the refugee camps in Tulkarm and Jenin; 38 per cent were displaced following the demolition of their homes due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits; and nine per cent on punitive grounds. Furthermore, some 200 families from some 19 herding communities across the West Bank comprising 1,222 people, including 595 children, were displaced amid Israeli settler violence and access restrictions.
  • Over the past five months (between 7 October 2023 and 7 March 2024), OCHA has recorded a monthly average of 700 search-and-arrest operations and other military operations by Israeli forces across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, more than double the monthly average for the first nine months of 2023 (some 340 operations). These include operations carried out by Israeli undercover units and ones that involved the exchange of fire with Palestinians. In total, 297 Palestinians have been killed, including 71 children, and 2,600 others were injured, within this context by Israeli forces, representing about 70 per cent of Palestinian fatalities during this period. In addition, over 5,400 Palestinians were arrested, and some 866 Palestinians, including 358 children, have been displaced because of the destruction of their houses during military operations. The vast majority (93 per cent) of displaced people were in the refugee camps of Nur Shams, Tulkarm and Jenin, where Israeli forces also regularly bulldozed roads and caused extensive damage to electricity, water and sewage infrastructure.
  • Since 7 October 2023, OCHA has recorded 624 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians that resulted in Palestinian casualties (55 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (498 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (71 incidents).


  • UN Women reports that “10 out of 12 women’s organizations surveyed in Gaza reported being partly operational, providing essential emergency response services. Despite their extraordinary efforts, less than one per cent of funding raised through the 2023 Flash Appeal has gone to national or local women’s rights organizations. Channeling funding to these organizations is crucial to meet the overwhelming needs of women and their families and communities, and to ensure that the voices of Gazan women do not go unheard.”
  • The Flash Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), which requests US$1.2 billion to meet critical needs of 2.7 million people across the oPt (2.2 million in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem), was extended through the end of March 2024. As of 8 March, member states disbursed nearly $971 million against the updated Flash Appeal (79 per cent); this includes about $616 million out of $629 million (98 per cent) requested for October-December 2023and $356 million out of $600 million (59 per cent) requested for January-March 2024. For funding analysis, please see the Flash Appeal Financial Tracking dashboard.
  • During February 2024, the oPt Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) had a total of 122 ongoing projects, for a total of US$ 74.5 million, addressing urgent needs in the Gaza Strip (83 per cent) and West Bank (17 per cent). Projects focus on the areas of Education, Food Security, Health, Protection, Emergency Shelter & NFI, WASH, Coordination and Support Services, Multi-Purpose Cash Assistance and Nutrition. Of these, 77 projects are being implemented by international NGOs (INGOs), 29 projects by national NGOs (NNGOs), and 16 projects by UN agencies. Of the 93 projects implemented by INGOs or the UN, 52 are being implemented in partnership with NNGOs. The oPt HF has also recently finalized its critical and time sensitive First Reserve Allocation of 2024, titled "Emergency Fleet Augmentation for Enhanced Gaza Aid Delivery", amounting to US$3.5 million. The allocation aims at increasing the aid transport capacity to enable humanitarian partners to increase their capacity to deliver vital aid and services to people across the Gaza Strip. For a summary of the oPt HF activities in February 2024, please follow this link. Since 7 October, the oPt HF has received a total of $88 million in contributions from member states and private donors. Private donations are collected directly through the Humanitarian Fund.

For the Humanitarian Needs and Cluster Response Updates for the period between 27 February and 4 March, please visit: Humanitarian needs and response update | 27 February – 4 March 2024.

* Asterisks indicate that a figure, sentence, or section has been rectified, added, or retracted after the initial publication of this update.