A joint WHO, OCHA, UNRWA and UNDSS mission to Al Amal PRCS hospital in Khan Younis in February 2024. Photo by WHO/Christopher Black
A joint WHO, OCHA, UNRWA and UNDSS mission to Al Amal PRCS hospital in Khan Younis in February 2024. Photo by WHO/Christopher Black

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #146

As of 25 March, the OCHA oPt Flash Update will be published three times a week and will provide an update on the West Bank on a weekly basis. The next update will be issued on 27 March

Key Highlights

  • The UN Human Rights Office expresses alarm at the series of reported attacks on aid warehouses and police officers in Gaza.
  • Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for an immediate end to the siege around Al Shifa Hospital and safe access to patients.
  • UNRWA calls for lifting restrictions on access to northern Gaza, after the Israeli authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza.
  • Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) staff and wounded patients arrive in Rafah after being trapped inside ambulances outside Al Amal Hospital for 20 hours.

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, particularly in Al Rimal area near Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza city, central Khan Younis, and the vicinity of Al Amal and Nasser hospitals. This has resulted in further civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure.
  • Between 10:30 on 21 March and 25 March, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 345 Palestinians were killed, and 506 Palestinians were injured, including 107 killed and 176 injured in the past 24 hours. Between 7 October 2023 and 10:30 on 25 March 2024, at least 32,333 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 74,694 Palestinians were injured, according to MoH in Gaza.
  • The following are among the deadly incidents reported between 22 and 24 March:
    • On 22 March, at about 11:20, eight Palestinians were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a house in An Nasser neighbourhood, in northeastern Rafah, was hit.
    • On 23 March, at about 2:30, five Palestinians, including four children and a woman, were reportedly killed when a house in Mirage area, in northern Rafah, was hit.
    • On 23 March, at about 6:30, several Palestinian casualties were reported when IDPs tents in Al Beraka area in Deir al Balah were hit.
    • On 23 March, at about 12:00, at least 19 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and others injured, when a group of people waiting for humanitarian aid were shot at in the vicinity of Al Kuwaiti roundabout in Gaza city.
    • On 23 March, at about 22:00, eight Palestinians, most of them children, were reportedly killed, and others injured when a house sheltering internally displaced persons (IDPs) was hit in Deir al Balah.
    • On 24 March, at about 2:00, eight Palestinians, including two children and a woman, were reportedly killed and others injured when a house on Al Fallouja Street in Al Junainah neighbourhood, in eastern Rafah, was hit.
  • Between the afternoons of 22 and 25 March, one Israeli soldier was reported killed in Gaza. As of 25 March, 251 soldiers have been killed and 1,509 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. As of 25 March, the Israeli authorities estimate that 134 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza, including fatalities whose bodies are withheld.
  • On 22 March, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) expressed alarm at the series of attacks since early February on aid warehouses as well as police officers and other actors reportedly involved in securing the delivery of aid supplies. OHCHR called on Israel to “ensure [the] entry of humanitarian aid and all other goods necessary for the survival of the civilian population at the required scale, facilitate the rebuilding of civilian infrastructure and ensure the safety of convoys, routes, warehouses, distribution sites, aid seekers and those securing and delivering aid.” Reported attacks have not only contributed to a breakdown in civil order, according to OHCHR, but they have also culminated in a situation whereby young men have often monopolized access to scarce assistance. Members of the civilian police who do not directly participate in hostilities are civilians and “cannot be targeted on the basis of their status” under international humanitarian law, OHCHR emphasized.
  • On 22 March, the Gaza Coastal Municipalities Water Utility condemned the destruction of its headquarters in Al Zahra area in southwestern Gaza city and its main warehouse. Located in Al Mawasi area of Khan Younis, the warehouse contained most of the equipment and spare parts needed for the operation and maintenance of stations for water desalination plants, water pumping and sewage treatment. According to WHO, limited access to proper water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities continues to contribute to the outbreak of infectious diseases, including diarrhoea and hepatitis A. On 22 March, Project Hope reported a rise in cases of hepatitis A at three of their clinics in the Gaza Strip, including one in Jaafar At Tayyar displacement site that provides shelter for over 100,000 people in Rafah. Moreover, among 125 children under the age of two screened at this site between 17 February and 16 March, 30 (nearly 25 per cent) showed signs of malnutrition. Project Hope warned that a ground offensive in Rafah “would be a death warrant for over a million people,” as health, nutrition, and sanitation conditions are already rapidly deteriorating.
  • Ongoing hostilities continue to severely disrupt the delivery of vital health services and endanger the lives of patients, medical staff, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering at besieged hospitals. In Gaza city, the Israeli military operation inside and around Al-Shifa Hospital has continued for the eighth consecutive day, with reports from the Israeli military that 170 armed Palestinians have so far been killed and some 500 suspects have been detained. The MoH in Gaza said that besieged doctors and patients have appealed to international organizations to urgently intervene and save their lives, reporting that five wounded patients have died at the hospital due to the lack of water, food and medical services as of 24 March. Describing conditions at Al Shifa Hospital as “utterly inhumane,” the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated on 23 March that reports from inside the hospital indicate that two patients on life support have died due to the lack of electricity and some 50 health workers and 143 patients have been kept in one building “with extremely limited food, water and only one nonfunctional toilet.” The WHO Director-General called “for an immediate end to the siege” and appealed for “safe access to ensure patients get the care they need.” According to the Health Cluster, a proposed WHO medical evacuation mission to Al Shifa Hospital, where about 103 patients urgently need medicines and supplies, was not facilitated by the Israeli authorities on 20 March.
  • On 24 March, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, called for lifting the restrictions on access to northern Gaza, after the Israeli authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any UNRWA food convoys to northern Gaza. Underscoring that UNRWA is largest aid organization in the Gaza Strip, the Commissioner-General described the situation as “outrageous,” as it “makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine.” Between 16 and 22 March, nine out of 17 humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, five were denied, and three were postponed or withdrawn. During the same period, 33 out of 42 humanitarian aid missions to areas south of Wadi Gaza that require coordination were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, four were denied, and five were postponed or withdrawn.
  • On the afternoon of 25 March, PRCS staff and wounded patients have reportedly arrived in Rafah, after being trapped in ambulances outside Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis for about 20 hours, according to PRCS. PRCS added that the Israeli military had forced them to evacuate the hospital on 24 March, and when two people exited the ambulances to clear the rubble on the road to the military checkpoint, they were fired on by the Israeli army. Upon returning to Al Amal hospital, they found the door closed and were trapped inside the ambulances. The Israeli military said it has killed 20 armed Palestinians in or around Al Amal hospital.


  • The Flash Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), which requests US$1.23 billion to meet the 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 24 March, member states disbursed nearly $1.051 billion for the updated Flash Appeal (85 per cent); this includes about $616 million out of $629 million (98 per cent) requested for October-December 2023 and about $435 million out of $600 million (72 per cent) requested for January-March 2024. For funding analysis, please see the Flash Appeal Financial Tracking dashboard.
  • The oPt Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) is currently supporting 122 projects, for a total of US$ 74.5 million, addressing urgent needs in the Gaza Strip (83 per cent) and West Bank (17 per cent). Despite logistical hurdles, safety and security concerns, and fuel scarcity that hinder the procurement and transport of supplies, implementation is led by 77 international NGOs, 20 national NGOs, and 16 UN agencies. Of the projects implemented by international NGOs or UN agencies, 56 per cent are in partnership with national NGOs. For a summary of the oPt HF activities and challenges in February 2024, please follow this link.
  • The oPt HF has recently finalized its First Reserve Allocation of US$ 3.5 million for 2024, which aims at boosting the aid transport capacity to enable humanitarian partners to increase the delivery of vital aid and services to people across the Gaza Strip. This is in addition to a total of $88 million received by the Fund since 7 October from Member States and private donors and allocated for programming across Gaza, including 43 per cent in Rafah, 21 per cent in Deir al Balah, 20 per cent in Khan Younis, and 16 per cent in Gaza and North Gaza governorates. Private donations are collected directly through the Humanitarian Fund. In addition, the Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) has recently allocated US$ 700,000 to a project led by UN Women that aims to strengthen gender-responsive and inclusive accountability to affected people, bringing to $18.7 million the total CERF allocation to oPt since 7 October.

For the Humanitarian Needs and Cluster Response Update for the period between 19 and 25 March, please visit: Humanitarian needs and response update | 19-25 March 2024. The update for a given week is initially published on Mondays and is updated throughout the week to reflect new content.

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