The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | August 2015

Suspected Israeli settler arson attack results in two Palestinian deaths in West Bank village. One year after the end of 2014 Gaza hostilities, affected families finally accessing building materials to reconstruct their homes. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN responds to new outbreaks of ‘bird flu’ in Gaza.

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Suspected Israeli settler arson attack results in two Palestinian deaths in West Bank village. One year after the end of 2014 Gaza hostilities, affected families finally accessing building materials to reconstruct their homes. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN responds to new outbreaks of ‘bird flu’ in Gaza.

Of the 216 projects in the 2015 Strategic Response Plan (SRP), only eight projects specify gender equality as a principal purpose of the project (i.e. having a 2b Gender Marker Code). The total requested budget for those eight projects is US$ 2,417,335 - representing 0.34 per cent of the total requested budget. Seven of the eight projects focus on Gaza and one project focuses on Area C of the West Bank. Five projects focus on Gender Based Violence (GBV) interventions; two projects focus on food security and livelihood needs related to women with disabilities and rural women; and one project is related to coordination.

Since March 2015, the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of the H5N1 subtype has caused 37 poultry outbreaks in the Gaza Strip and required culling operations on 52 premises, resulting in the destruction of 66,243 poultry under standard disease control measures. H5N1 HPAI, also known as ‘bird flu’, affects poultry and is often lethal, endangering farmer livelihoods and presenting significant risks to the poultry sector, as well as the country as a whole, through negative implications for food safety and trade economies. In rare instances, H5N1 has caused human infections, sometimes leading to serious illness and even death; although no human infections have yet been identified in Gaza.

The construction materials needed to repair the enormous damage resulting from the 2014 hostilities have been entering Gaza since October 2014 under the framework of the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM). To date, over 90,000 households have accessed construction materials, under a process known as the “shelter repair stream” with new submissions and processing and verification of applicants ongoing. According to the latest Shelter Cluster update, over 157,000 housing units were damaged to some degree, ranging from minor to severe, during the 2014 hostilities.

Faced with an unprecedented funding crisis with a budget deficit of US$ 101 million in its General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs in its five fields of operation, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)  came close to suspending its landmark education programme, which would have meant postponing the beginning of the new school year across the five fields. While UNRWA emergency programmes are also operating with large deficits and seriously threatened, these are funded through separate funding channels.

During the first half of 2015, the Protection Cluster and its sub-groups have made positive progress towards achieving its two cluster-specific objectives:

Throughout July, several incidents underlined the severity of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip. On 1 July, the electricity supply to the southern governorate of Rafah, home to 220,000 people, came to an almost complete halt when all three Egyptian feeder lines supplying southern Gaza were disconnected, reportedly after sustaining damage due to military operations in Northern Sinai. The lines were repaired on 7 July, but frequent cuts and electricity fluctuations mean that the situation in Rafah remains precarious. On 20 July, two Israeli feeder lines supplying Gaza City and Khan Yunis were also disconnected. The lines were repaired on 22 July. Also on 20 July, due to a lack of fuel supply, Gaza’s sole Power Plant (GPP) was forced to shut down completely, triggering rolling power cuts of up to 18 hours a day throughout Gaza. Fuel supplies resumed on 29 July and partial operation has been restored. However, due to the high demand for electricity in summer and increased losses through the grid, power cuts are still longer than the usual 12 to 16 hours per day.

On 31 July, suspected Israeli settlers attacked and burned the Dawabsheh family home in Duma village, Nablus, killing 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh, and critically injuring his parents and four-year-old sibling. Graffiti reading “long live the Messiah” and “revenge” was spray-painted on the outside house walls. The surviving family members sustained severe injuries and were transferred by the Israeli military to a hospital in Israel. The 32-year-old father died on 8 August; his wife remains in critical condition. The condition of the four-year-old is stable. These are the first two fatalities as a result of Israeli settler attacks in 2015.