Kamal Adwan Hospital is the only hospital in northern Gaza providing treatment for malnourished children and one of four that remain partially functional in the area, March 2024. Photo by UNICEF
Kamal Adwan Hospital is the only hospital in northern Gaza providing treatment for malnourished children and one of four that remain partially functional in the area, March 2024. Photo by UNICEF

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #147

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 29 March.

Key Highlights

  • Famine is ever closer to becoming a reality in northern Gaza, the World Health Organization reports.
  • Health services in northern Gaza have been largely destroyed and the healthcare system in southern Gaza is on the brink of collapse, warns the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. 
  • According to the Government Media Office in Gaza, 12 Palestinians drowned while trying to reach airdropped aid that fell in the sea on 25 March.

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 and around Al Shifa hospital in Gaza city and in central Khan Younis. This has resulted in further civilian casualties, displacement, and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure. 
  • Between the afternoons of 25 March and 27 March, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 157 Palestinians were killed, and 195 Palestinians were injured, including 76 killed and 102 injured in the past 24 hours. Between 7 October 2023 and afternoon of 27 March 2024, at least 32,490 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 74,889 Palestinians were injured, according to MoH in Gaza. 
  • The following are among the deadly incidents reported on 24 and 25 March: 
    • On 24 March, at about 21:10, 22 Palestinians, including at least six children and eight women, were reportedly killed when a house in Deir al Balah was hit.
    • On 24 March, at about 18:40, seven Palestinians, including four women and a boy, were reportedly killed and others injured when a house in Al Junainah neighbourhood, in eastern Rafah, was hit.
    • On 25 March, at about 20:25, five Palestinians were reportedly killed when a residential building behind Al Shifa Hospital, in Gaza city, was hit. 
    • On 25 March, at about 21:20, two Palestinians were reportedly killed when a group of people waiting for humanitarian aid near Al Kuwaiti Roundabout in Gaza city was hit.
    • On 25 March, at about 12:25, an unconfirmed number of casualties was reported when Palestinians gathered to collect airdropped humanitarian aid were hit near Karni Crossing area, in eastern Ash Shuja’iyah in Gaza city.
    • On 25 March, according to the Government Media Office (GMO) in Gaza, 12 Palestinians drowned while trying to reach airdropped aid that fell into the sea off the shore of Beit Lahiya on 25 March.
    • On 26 March, at about 0:40, 18 Palestinians, including at least nine children and five women, were reportedly killed and tens of others were injured when a house sheltering IDPs in Musabeh area, in northern Rafah, was hit.
  • Between the afternoons of 25 and 27 March, there were no Israeli soldiers reported killed in Gaza. As of 27 March, 251 soldiers have been killed and 1,520 soldiers have been 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 27 March, the Israeli authorities estimate that 134 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza, including fatalities whose bodies are withheld. 
  • Famine is ever closer to becoming a reality in northern Gaza, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A mother of six children explained to WHO that mainly expensive wild plants are available on the market, with “no vegetables, no fruits, no juice…no lentils, no rice, no potatoes or eggplants, nothing,” and they are mainly forced to eat common mallow.  On his visit to Rafah crossing on 23 March, the UN Secretary General described seeing long lines of blocked relief trucks, emphasizing that “it’s time to truly flood Gaza with life-saving aid.”
  • OCHA oPt Gaza Sub-office Head noted that during high-risk aid missions, aid workers frequently find near Israeli military checkpoints, which separate northern and southern Gaza, injured or elderly persons or people with crutches whom they try to help, or human remains and dead bodies that they try to recover while children as young as three years old are walking by. 
  • The health system in Gaza is collapsing due to ongoing hostilities and access constraints, resulting in a growing number of hospitals that have been rendered out of service. As of 27 March, according to WHO, 24 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are non-functional, two are minimally functional in northern Gaza, and 10 are partially functional including four in northern Gaza and six in southern Gaza. According to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the “health services in northern Gaza have been largely destroyed, and the southern Gaza Strip’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse.”
    • In northern Gaza, OCHA oPt Head of Office, Andrea De Deminico, noted that Kamal Adwan Hospital is receiving about 15 malnourished children a day and is struggling to maintain services, with a heavily damaged generator and amid a lack of water, food and sanitation. To save children, he called for the need to allow humanitarian assistance to flow without any impediment.
    • In Gaza city, Al Shifa Hospital remains besieged for the 10th day, amid intensive exchanges of fire between the Israeli military and armed Palestinians. According to the MoH in Gaza, besieged doctors and patients at the hospital have repeatedly appealed to the international community to urgently intervene, noting that the Israeli army has confined medical staff, ill and wounded persons to the human resources building, which is not set up for health care provision, and has prevented them from leaving. The Israeli military had said that it has established a dedicated treatment area for patients at Al Shifa Hospital and supplied them with medical equipment, food and water. 
    • In Khan Younis, amid intensive military operations, the Israeli military has forced hospital staff and wounded patients to evacuate Al Amal Hospital and closed the entrances with dirt barriers, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). On 25 March, PRCS, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and OCHA evacuated six patients and a companion, 27 staff, and retrieved the bodies of two people who were killed inside the hospital, including a PRCS volunteer who was a member of the Emergency Operations Room. As of 26 March, both the hospital and the nearby PRCS headquarters have ceased functioning. On the same day, IFRC issued a statement, emphasizing that sustained hostilities in and around Al Amal Hospital for over 40 days have placed PRCS teams and patients in grave danger, and that the  “forced closure of Al Amal Hospital, one of the few remaining medical facilities in the south [and the second PRCS hospital to shut down], has profound implications, leaving countless lives at risk.”
    • At the European Gaza Hospital (EGH) in Khan Younis, an Emergency Medical Team (EMT) with Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) described the situation at the hospital, where they have been treating patients for two weeks, as “unimaginable” and “beyond comprehension.” Witnessing horrifying scenes of patients dying from infections, they emphasize the extent to which the hospital is overwhelmed with patients; designed with a capacity of only 200 beds, the EGH has expanded to 1,000 beds, but the increased capacity remains insufficient to meet needs due to critical shortages of basic medical supplies, infrastructural damage, and constraints on aid access. Around 22,000 internally displaced people have also sought refuge and safety at the hospital, “sheltering in the corridors and in tents inside the hospital.” 

West Bank Updates

  • In the early morning hours of 27 March, Israeli forces killed three Palestinians and injured five others during an eight-hour military raid in Jenin city and its adjacent refugee camp. Fatalities include one Palestinian killed by live ammunition during armed clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians who also threw pipe bombs and stones at the forces, and two killed when struck by an Israeli drone. 
  • On 23 March, an Israeli soldier died of wounds sustained during an exchange of fire with a Palestinian man on 22 March near Dolev settlement in Ramallah governorate. 
  • On 22 March, a Palestinian man died of wounds sustained on 21 August 2023 during an Israeli military raid in Beita village in Nablus governorate.
  • Since 7 October, 438 Palestinians have been killed, including 426 by Israeli forces, nine by settlers and three by either Israeli forces or settlers, across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. These include 129 Palestinians killed since the start of 2024, the vast majority by Israeli forces. Some 4,700 Palestinians have been injured, including 725 children, since 7 October in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
  • Since 7 October, 16 Israelis, including five members of Israeli forces, have been killed and 109 injured in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Israel.
  • Since 7 October, over 1,600 Palestinians have been displaced due to home demolitions, more than half of whom were displaced in operations carried out by Israeli forces, 38 per cent by the demolition of homes that lacked Israeli-issued building permits, and 8 per cent due to demolitions on punitive grounds. In addition, since 7 October 2023, over 1,240 Palestinians, including about 600 children, from at least 20 herding communities have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions.
  • On 20 March, Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a Palestinian farmer and set his vehicle on fire while he was working on his land near the Israeli settlement of Homesh in Nablus governorate. Also on 20 March, an Israeli settler physically assaulted a Palestinian bus driver, injuring him in the head, in Neve Yaakov settlement in East Jerusalem. Since 7 October 2023 and as of 24 March 2024, OCHA has recorded 683 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians that resulted in Palestinian casualties (64 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (541 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (78 incidents). 


  • 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 27 March, member states disbursed nearly $1.052 billion for the updated Flash Appeal (86 per cent); this includes about $616 million out of $629 million (98 per cent) requested for October-December 2023 and about $436 million out of $600 million (73 per cent) requested for January-March 2024. For funding analysis, please see the Flash Appeal Financial Tracking dashboard.
  • The oPt Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) is currently supporting 122 projects, for a total of US$ 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.