Shelter Cluster targets 200,000 people in 2016
Access to shelter remains a key humanitarian concern
It is estimated that 990,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem need emergency and early recovery shelter support and essential non-food items (NFIs) in 2016. The Shelter Cluster response plan addresses the needs of the most vulnerable, some 200,000 people, who have been displaced or are at risk of displacement as a result of manmade or natural disasters. Some $112 million has been requested through the HRP.
As of the end of March, the Shelter Cluster had received 12 per cent of the funding requested, covering four of the 15 agencies (two UN and two INGO) and five of the 24 projects included in the 2016 HRP.
This funding has enabled partners to provide winterization assistance, including the repair or upgrading of damaged or inadequate shelters, to over 7,500 families throughout the oPt, and to provide 1,370 vulnerable families in Gaza with emergency NFIs in the wake of winter floods. Some 1,100 families received transitional shelter cash assistance and 50 IDP families received transitional timber shelters. In the West Bank, 84 families were assisted after demolitions in the first quarter of 2016and preparedness measures were taken to pre-position stocks for future response.
However, significant challenges remain. In the West Bank, the extremely high rate of demolitions experienced in Area C so far in 2016, including the demolition of structures provided as humanitarian aid, is placing considerable strain on the response system and on the funding requirements of the organizations providing assistance, should the current trend continue. The provision of such assistance is also becoming increasingly challenging as a result of the blockage, confiscation/seizure or detention of humanitarian goods and personnel engaged in the response. Measures to protect both communities and deliverers of aid and to prevent delays to communities in need of assistance, as well as to address the vulnerabilities that contribute to displacement, are urgently needed.
In Gaza, nearly two years after the end of the 2014 hostilities and a second winter, over 75,000 people remain displaced. IDP vulnerability is exacerbated by the huge shortfall in assistance for temporary solutions, which are only nine per cent funded. There is a pressing need to provide ongoing support to the most vulnerable of these families and prioritize them in the reconstruction efforts: there is a still a gap in funding for over 4,700 units. Displacement is also being prolonged by the slow disbursement of funding for reconstruction and by restrictions on materials, which is compounded by the restrictions since early April on the import of cement to Gaza for the private sector (see accompanying article).
 Progress reported in Q1 2016 includes some contributions as a result of rollover funds or projects/INGOs in line with, but not included in, the HRP projects.
 February 2016 is notable as having the highest number of structures demolished in a single month since OCHA began the documentation of demolitions systematically in 2009.