Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #4
Information on humanitarian needs is as of 12:00, while casualty figures and the number of people displaced are updated as of 21:00.
The Humanitarian Coordinator issued a statement calling on all sides to uphold international humanitarian law, protect civilians, and asking for all relevant parties to facilitate safe access of humanitarian goods and personnel. Over the past 24 hours, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, sea, and land have continued almost uninterrupted across the Gaza Strip. This has led to a significant increase in the death toll, including among children and women. Palestinian armed groups in Gaza carried out indiscriminate rocket firing overnight, targeting Israeli population centres.
In the past 24 hours, over 400 Palestinian fatalities were recorded in Gaza compared with the over 200 in the previous two days, since the start of hostilities. As of 17:30 today, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, at least 830 Palestinians have been killed and 4,250 others injured.
As of 21:00 today, according to Israeli media, more than 1,000 Israelis, including foreign nationals, were killed by Palestinians and at least 2,806 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health in Israel.
According to Israeli sources, between 50 and 100 members of the Israeli forces and Israeli and foreign civilians, including women and children, have been captured and forcibly taken into Gaza. Palestinian armed groups in Gaza claim to have captured and forcibly taken over 150 people.
Mass displacement has continued over the past 24 hours across the Gaza Strip, with the total displacement now exceeding 263,934 people. This number is expected to rise further. Among the displaced, over 175,486 people are seeking shelter in UNRWA schools, while about 3,000 Palestinians in Gaza remain displaced due to previous escalations.
On 9 October, people claimed to be members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) reportedly infiltrated Israel from Lebanon and exchanged fire with Israeli forces. Three Israeli soldiers and two PIJ members were killed.
GAZA HUMANITARIAN OVERVIEW
Hostilities have continued for the fourth consecutive day, resulting in additional Palestinian and Israeli casualties and property damage and a significant rise in internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Hostilities and casualties
The past 24 hours have been characterized by an escalation in Israeli aerial and ground bombardments throughout the Gaza Strip with a particular focus on Al Rimal area west of Gaza city and Khan Younis. Communities in various parts of the territory received warnings to evacuate their houses and re-locate to the centres of the Gaza Strip’s cities.
Airstrikes targeted several telecommunication installations, destroying two of the three main lines for mobile communication. Gaza residents are now relying on just one line for mobile and internet connections, resulting in disruptions to mobile and internet services.
Several residential buildings in heavily populated areas were also targeted, resulting in casualties, including among the elderly, women, and children.
On 9 October at 17:25, Israeli air forces reportedly struck a residential building with two missiles in Al Bureij, Central Gaza, killing 13 persons.
On 9 October, at around 21:30, Israeli air forces reportedly struck a residential building with two missiles in Al Attarah area, Beit Lahia, North Gaza, killing ten members of the same family, including five children.
On 9 October at around 22:15, Israeli air forces reportedly struck a residential building with three missiles in Khan Yunis, killing ten persons.
On 10 October at around 2:15, Israeli forces reportedly struck a building with two missiles west of Gaza city, killing three Palestinian journalists. According to Government Media Office in Gaza and Ministry of Health in Gaza, seven Palestinian journalists have been killed since 7 October.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing, a total of 1,009 housing units have been destroyed, 560 that were severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable, and another 12,630 sustained less damage. Human rights organizations have expressed concerns regarding incidents where civilian objects and civilians appear to have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes.
Since 7 October, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have launched thousands of rockets and mortar shells into Israel, with some rockets reaching areas including the Jerusalem area, the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and southern Israel. In the evening of 9 October, one rocket from Gaza landed in Betar Illit settlement west of Bethlehem, with nine Israeli injuries reported.
As of 23:00 today, over 263,934 people in Gaza are believed to have fled their homes, with UNRWA hosting 175,486 in 88 schools, some of which operated as emergency shelters. Additionally, 14,548 IDPs have taken refuge at 12 government schools. It is estimated that over 73,900 IDPs, whose homes have been destroyed or damaged, are with relatives and neighbours, at Palestinian Authority schools, a church in Gaza City and other facilities. The number of IDPs represents the highest number of people displaced since the 50-day escalation of hostilities in 2014. This is increasing the caseload for humanitarian organizations to meet displaced people’s basic needs of shelter, bedding, food, water and sanitation (WASH) facilities, additionally the prevailing insecurity and reduced access to impacted areas impedes distributions, particularly for families who are not in UNRWA shelters.
Attacks on WASH, health care and education facilities
Meeting basic needs is becoming increasingly challenging for those who have not been displaced, including access to water for domestic use due to the damage and the reduction in power supply to sewage infrastructures. Since the beginning of the escalation, Israeli airstrikes have damaged five WASH facilities in the north of Gaza and Gaza city, which previously provided water and sanitation services to over 500,000 people. In Beit Lahia and the rest of the Northern Area, sewage and solid waste are accumulating in the streets due to damage to sewage lines and infrastructure.
WHO documented 37 health attacks since 7 October, recorded in the WHO Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care. These attacks have resulted in six fatalities among healthcare workers, eight injuries, and have affected 13 healthcare facilities and at least 15 ambulances. During the past 24 hours, airstrikes targeted areas near Beit Hanoun hospital and a healthcare facility in Gaza City, causing damage to the surrounding areas of both facilities and rendering the hospital and center inaccessible. Gaza's 13 hospitals and other health facilities are only partially functioning due to severe shortages of essential medical supplies and the emergency fuel needed to operate backup electricity generators.
Initial reports state that there are at least 15 education facilities that have been affected, including five UNRWA schools damaged. According to the UN, 16 internally displaced people sheltered at an UNRWA elementary school, in Gaza city, were injured because of an airstrike targeting a mosque nearby. On 9 October, Israeli airstrikes targeting the Islamic university west of Gaza City, caused severe damage, with no casualties.
Electricity, fuel and water
On the evening of 9 October, the Israeli authorities announced a total halting of food, fuel, electricity and water into the Gaza Strip. Since the evening of 7 October, the Israeli authorities have ceased selling and supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, reducing the hours of electricity to 3-4 per day. The Gaza Power Plant is currently the only source of power, and it will reportedly run out of fuel by midday 11 October, should fuel reserves not be replenished. According to the GPP, the Israeli authorities have warned that they would attack the plant if it receives more fuel.
On the evening of 8 October, the Israeli authorities decided to cut off their water supply to Gaza. This decision affects over 610,000 people in Gaza and will result in a shortage of drinkable water.
The Israeli forces declared siege is having a detrimental effect on food security within the Gaza Strip. Poultry and livestock sectors are at risk of collapsing due to the severe shortage of fodder, placing the livelihood of more than 1,000 herders at risk, and the availability of main sources of protein for the entire population of Gaza. Lack of access to livelihood and electricity cuts will affect refrigeration, irrigation, incubation, and other machinery that will impact agriculture, poultry, cattle, fish, and other products.
Access restrictions within and in and out of Gaza
Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings remain closed due to the hostilities. An estimated 130 referral patients and their companions from the Gaza Strip are unable to cross Beit Hanoun (Erez) checkpoint to reach scheduled medical appointments each day.
Israeli forces reportedly struck twice in less than 24 hours in the vicinity of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the only thus-far open exit out of the Gaza Strip. This has forced the crossing to close for about five hours and prevented Palestinians from leaving or arriving.
WEST BANK HUMANITARIAN OVERVIEW
In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli forces have continued for the third consecutive day in multiple locations. Between 7 and 10 October, as of 16:00, 19 Palestinians, including three children, were killed by Israeli forces in various areas across the West Bank. A total of 332 Palestinians, including 39 children, were injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Most of the injuries (307) were reported in various demonstrations in solidarity with residents of the Gaza Strip, during which confrontations were reported between Palestinians who threw stones and, in some instances, opened fire and Israeli forces who shot live ammunition. Overall, 169 Palestinians were treated for teargas inhalation, 104 were shot with live ammunition, 32 were injured by rubber bullets, seven were hit by shrapnel or teargas canisters, and 20 were physically assaulted.
Over the past two days, the situation in Palestinian communities near settlements across the West Bank has been reported as very tense. In Einabus (Nablus) dozens of armed settlers reportedly from Yitzhar settlement attacked the village accompanied with Israeli forces. Settlers threw stones causing damage to three homes, set fire to another one and to a Palestinian vehicle, and opened fire at residents who threw stones. During the event, a total of eight Palestinians, including one child were injured, including four Palestinians injured with live ammunition fired by either Israeli forces or settlers. Attacks by settlers with live ammunition against Palestinian vehicles travelling on roads near Al Mu'arrajat Center and East (both in Ramallah) and Jaba’ between Nablus and Jenin, were also reported, causing damage to at least three vehicles.
In the southern West Bank, in two separate incidents on 8 and 9 October, dozens of armed settlers attacked Palestinian families in Al Ganoub herding community located near Sa’ir (Hebron) and another family in as Samu village (Hebron) and forced them to leave the area at gun point. Settlers also set fire to two residential tents and vandalized nine water tanks, and two solar systems. Subsequently, three families of 15 members, including five children, were displaced.
The Israeli authorities have continued to impose multiple movement restrictions, including the closure of several checkpoints and the blocking of entrances to towns and cities across the West Bank. This has been done either by closing road gates or erecting earth mounds disconnecting cities and towns from the main roads in the West Bank for the third consecutive day.
Since 7 October, Israeli authorities continue to isolate Barta'a enclave communities, comprising of six communities, home to about 9,000 people, by closing the checkpoint and Barrier gates impeding their movement and access to services. All checkpoints segregating part of the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron (H2) from the rest of the city were closed for the fourth consecutive day, impeding the movement of 7,000 Palestinian residents, and preventing them from reaching essential services. Access of Palestinians to the Old City in Jerusalem, including the Al Aqsa Mosque, has been also restricted for the fourth consecutive day.
Attacks on health care
WHO has documented 15 health attacks since 7 October in the West Bank, recorded in the WHO Surveillance System for Attacks on Health Care. Including 13 attacks involving obstruction to delivery of health care; five involving physical violence towards health teams; four involving detention of health staff and ambulances; and three involving militarized search of health assets.
Humanitarian needs across the OPT continue to rise, the response to which is impeded by a current lack of access.
HUMANITARIAN NEEDS, RESPONSES & CONSTRAINTS
Protection needs across Gaza continue to rise, the response to which is impeded by a current lack of access.
Protective supplies and materials are lacking in shelters.
NFIs and hygiene support for IDPs including dignity kits for women and girls.
Psychological first aid for affected persons as well as frontline workers.
Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for affected families.
Increased levels of distress, fear, anxiety, insecurity, and panic attacks is expected, especially among children and women. Parents and children will require more MHPSS, especially regarding how to help children who suffer from fear and panic.
50,000 Dignity Kits for women and men.
Cash assistance for the host community and protection cases, women, and families in Designated Emergency Shelters.
Emergency referral pathways for gender-based violence (GBV).
Enhance the infrastructure for remote services to respond to GBV through solving the electricity shortages and internet disruptions (by providing power banks, phones, tablets, etc.).
Need to increase documentation of violations of International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law.
Risk of death and injury posed by explosive ordnance or bombing. Substantial risk of ERW contamination.
Response to Date
GBV remote services activated with already existing survivors. Services include Psychosocial Support (PSS) counselling, legal, case management, and family visitations and other remote services for 572 people.
GBV Sub-Cluster is conducting outreach to shelters to check their emergency plans, any urgent needs and to put them on alert.
Counting and procuring dignity kits: GBV partners have 650 dignity kits ready for distribution with at least 600 more being procured.
PC in contact with UNRWA Protection team to ensure coordination for any needed back-up response, including providing services for women and girls inside the DES. Needs to be covered in host communities as well.
Child Protection Area of Responsibility/MHPSS: Scaled up capacity of helplines and remote psychosocial support and referral to other services for children and their caregivers.
Dissemination of ERW messages.
Protection Cluster is continuing to closely monitor the situation, with OHCHR and cluster partners monitoring and documenting possible violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and civilian fatalities.
Protection cluster partners have initiated an emergency mass media campaign through various platforms, including social media and radio stations, to send Explosive Ordnance Risk Education (EORE) and Conflict Preparedness and Protection (CPP) messages to as wide a population as possible. The aim is to mitigate the risk of death and injury posed by explosive ordnance or bombing.
Psychological first aid (PFA) services, provided remotely.
Awareness campaigns about coping mechanisms in times of crises and emergencies
Scaled up capacity of helplines and remote psychosocial support and referral to other services for children and their caregivers.
Free telephone counselling
MHPSS and CP partners continued their hotline services to provide remote MHPSS services and guidance.
One partner in Gaza has been able to reach the following number of people with services: Psychological consultations (48); Social consultations (37); Legal advice (3); Psychological follow-up (36); Social follow-up (14); Legal follow-up (25); Support messages (325); Psychological first aid services (65); Awareness about coping mechanisms in times of crises and emergencies (168); Emotional and psychological support (211).
Key Constraints and Gaps
Movement and access restrictions: Safety risks and hazards disrupt capacity of emergency responders to mobilize; concerns regarding movement restrictions for people with disabilities and elderly people.
Information challenges: Lack of electricity/Internet hinders frontline workers to connect children with their parents during family visitation services; Limited access to basic emergency info (ambulances, police, and civil defense).
Service cuts and closures/infrastructure damage: Closure of offices of service providers due to security concerns; Lack of infrastructure to provide remote GBV protection services; Power and Internet outages at service providers.
Trauma and psychosocial distress on protection partners' frontline staff.
Limited supplies of non-food items (NFIs), including number of available dignity kits (650).
According to the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MoPWH), According to the Gaza Ministry of Public Works and Housing, a total of 1,009 housing units have been destroyed, 560 that were severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable, and another 12,630 sustained less damage.
Overall, 263,934 people who had their homes destroyed or damaged and have left their homes due to protection concerns, have been internally displaced. Among the displaced, over 175,486 people took shelter in 88 UNRWA schools, some of which are designated emergency shelters.
Urgent needs to provide services and basic SNFIs needs for the IDPs in the collective centers and provision of shelter support for the people in urban displacement.
Provision of shelter cash assistance for IDPs (reintegration package and belongings loss compensation).
Response to Date
175,486 IDPs are hosted at 88 UNRWA schools.
Shelter cluster partners are verifying the needs to distribute essential NFIs in coordination with the shelter cluster and MoSD.
Key Constraints and Gaps
Movement restrictions particularly for people in urban areas.
Lack of access to potential suppliers for shelter/NFIs and a shortage in the bedding sets in Gaza.
With the high number of casualties, there is an urgent need for trauma and emergency care following the trauma pathway and the caseload continues to increase.
The electricity cuts are affecting hospitals that now rely on back-up generators.
The number of primary healthcare facilities that are partially functioning has dropped to 50 per cent.
Hospitals continue to see an unprecedented high influx of trauma patients. They are overstretched and healthcare workers overwhelmed by the caseload.
There is an urgent need for medical disposable items which are in shortage.
Demands for fuel to run ambulances and back-up generators in hospitals keep soaring.
Movement restrictions across the West Bank and potential risk of settler attacks at junctions has disrupted mobile clinics, UNRWA and some MoH health facilities.
Response to Date
Fifteen out of 22 UNRWA health centres across the Gaza strip have resumed providing primary healthcare services from 09:00 – 12:00 to patients with urgent referred appointments. Treatment is provided for non-communicable diseases and critical outpatient cases. Provision of health care services through the toll-free hotline continues.
Partners who still have some prepositioned supplies continue to be released to hospitals in Gaza. Considering the caseload of casualties, the supplies that were prepositioned fall significantly short of what is needed.
Some partners have started early rehabilitation and post-trauma services to the injured tailored to their specific needs.
Surge staff remains present in the hospitals supporting case management
Ambulances and emergency medical teams despite the risk continue to operate in increasingly more difficult terrain to provide the necessary pre-hospital care and referral of the injured.
Key Constraints and Gaps
Insecurity and the massive infrastructure damage is hindering access to essential health care services for the population.
Health attacks on ambulance services and health facilities remain a concern. Some hospitals have suffered some damage, this adds a burden on the remaining fully functional health facilities.
Shortages of medical supplies impacting case management.
Poor funding of humanitarian health response means there are limited resources that can be adequately reprogrammed to support the emergency response.
Priority is to provide crucial food assistance to the most vulnerable Palestinian families and to provide emergency food assistance to the IDPs already seeking shelter in UNRWA schools.
UNRWA food operation remains on hold, disrupting the third distribution cycle for 112,759 families.
Poultry and livestock sectors are at risk of collapsing due to the severe shortage of fodder, placing the livelihood of more than 1000 herders at risk, and the availability of meat and other fresh sources of protein -such as eggs, yogurt, and cheese- for the entire population of Gaza.
Transportation of poultry from farms to markets has almost stopped completely due to companies or intermediaries declining to work due to the danger of transport trucks roaming at night, and therefore there is a fear that the chicken commodity will not be available in the markets.
According to WFP monitoring assessment, there has been a significant decrease in food stocks, as a third of the shops in Gaza Strip suffer from shortage of commodities. About 50% of the shops in North Gaza and 50% of those in Rafah suffer from shortages. There is a significant decrease in wheat flour and eggs specifically at shops. Most shops have an adequate stock of food commodities for approximately two weeks, around 36% of the respondents indicated that the current supply is sufficient for one week only.
Five FSS partner contracted shops were destroyed during the escalation in Gaza.
Access to agriculture: Strawberry and tomato farmers are at risk of losing their entire seasonal production due to access restrictions.
Inaccessibility to olive trees could lead to losing olives and oil.
Closure of Kerem Shalom crossing means that no fodder enters Gaza. This endangers the livestock and poultry sectors affecting the livelihoods of over 10,000 producers and the provision of animal protein to Gaza.
Lack of access and electricity cuts will affect refrigeration, irrigation, incubation, and other machinery that will affect agriculture, poultry, cattle, fish, and other products. Some products have started spoiling already.
Milk produced by dairy cattle cannot be marketed to dairy factories. It is expected that 35,000 litres of milk will be spoiled daily.
Closure of the sea puts at risk more than 4,000 fisheries.
In the West Bank, some villages reported the issue of food availability, fresh products like cheese yogurt and wheat flour, due to high demand, closures, and movement restrictions.
Response to Date
FSS partners are preparing to distribute ready-to-eat food rations to 100,000 IDPs in UNRWA shelters, as well as 100,000 people outside shelters with a cash-transfer value of $12.4 (USD) per person for one month.
FSS partners are aiming to resume food assistance to 136,000 of the most vulnerable people with a cash-transfer value of $12,4 (USD) per-person for one month of those it had suspended earlier this year and provide an additional cash top-up to 205,000 people who received their October assistance.
Market monitoring of food availability and prices has begun.
UNRWA is replenishing stock of food Items for 150,000 IDPs which will be between 10 to 30 days.
FSS partners started the daily distribution of fresh bread and canned food to 73, 538 displaced people in UNRWA’s shelters using WFP's standby contracted bakeries.
A FSS partner is planning to reach 805,000 with emergency food and cash assistance across Gaza and the West Bank.
A FSS partner is launching an immediate cash assistance top-up to around 166,000 of those who have already received assistance this month.
An FSS partner is currently in the process of purchasing an additional 120 metric ton of food from Egypt for the IDP emergency response.
Currently, aa FSS partner is working to purchase food parcels for 300,000 people that are hosting displaced families outside shelters in Gaza
Plans are made to distribute fresh bread to around 132,000 IDPs on October 10.
Key Constraints and Gaps
The closure of Kerem Shalom, Erez and Allenby Commercial terminal poses challenges for the entry of food items into Gaza.
The Rafah crossing has been shut to goods.
The current stockpile of fodder should be sufficient for 10-12 days maximum, while 600 tons are needed daily to feed poultry and the livestock.
The Ministry of Agriculture has reported considerable damage to agricultural lands and some poultry farms. However, it is impossible to carry out field assessments, so no estimation is available for shelter damages.
Farmers cannot access their lands for daily agricultural practices (crop service, irrigation, harvesting).
Lack of electricity and fuel causing food products to spoil.
The delivery of food items to North Gaza is currently blocked.
All education facilities in the West Bank and Gaza are closed, affecting more than 1,400,000 children.
83 UNRWA schools (DES and non-DES) are being used for shelter and reports indicate that displaced families are taking shelter in at least 12 government schools (Not official DES).
The mental wellbeing of students and school staff is negatively affected by the current situation in Gaza.
The mental well-being of children and staff is severely affected.
Response to Date
Provision of school-based PSS and recreational activities to at least 70,000 children and school staff as soon as the situation allows.
Emergency rehabilitation for at least 20 damaged schools.
Provision of emergency supplies and learning kits for 10,000 children in DES and 50,000 children in schools once they reopen.
Provision of catch-up classes, especially to displaced children (at least 20,000 children).
Key Constraints and Gaps
Insecurity and movement restriction is resulting in school closure and limited access of service providers to schools.
Electricity cuts make online distance learning almost impossible.
All solid waste collection and transfer to landfills remains on hold.
Five of the WASH infrastructures and facilities have been affected in the north of Gaza and Gaza City, these facilities served over 500,000 people with water and sanitation services.
Israel’s decision to cut the water supply to Gaza via Mekorot water company by 100% has impacted over 610,000 people in Gaza. This will result in a severe shortage of drinkable water available to the population, inevitably affecting the water quality within the distribution network.
Gaza's current electricity generation is less than 60 MW. This falls significantly short of the necessary power to sustain WASH services across the entire Gaza Strip. Four out of the five wastewater treatment plants have stopped working due to the lack of fuel which led to more than 120,000 m3/d of wastewater being disposed into the sea.
Municipalities are urging residents to conserve water usage to maintain essential services, as they anticipate a drastic reduction of more than 50% in the coming days.
There is an urgent need for an alternative power supply source. In the meantime, providing fuel (Emergency fuel of 20,000 litres/day) is needed to ensure WASH facilities in their continued operation.
The chlorine supply for the water treatment plants, currently using the emergency supply, needs to be replenished.
Spare parts for the water and sanitation facilities and infrastructure to be used as part of the emergency repair need to be replenished.
Response to Date
70,000 litres of fuel were allocated for distribution among the WASH facilities experiencing power shortages.
The operation of water wells in Jabalia, Khan Younis and Rafah is ongoing.
Key Constraints and Gaps
The access and distribution of materials and items necessary for the WASH facilities is not possible yet.
Israel’s decision to cut water supply to Gaza.
The closure on the Gaza Strip poses challenges for the entry of WASH items.
Protection against sexual abuse and exploitation (PSEA) remains a cross-cutting priority for all clusters. The SAWA helpline, reachable at 121 and through WhatsApp at +972 59-4040121 (East Jerusalem at 1-800-500-121), operates 24/7. This toll-free number is widely disseminated across all areas of intervention to report cases of SEA and to facilitate emergency counseling and referrals for affected communities to access life-saving services. The PSEA Network is monitoring calls daily and will increase the number of counselors if necessary