Articles, statements and press releases
The humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in August and September continued to be dominated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On 24 August, the Gaza Strip detected its first infection cases in the community. In response, the local authorities declared a state of emergency and enforced a lockdown, which has been gradually eased as the rate of transmission decreases. However, these restrictions have exacerbated already poor living conditions and related concerns in Gaza. Mental health is one such concern, as evidenced in the increase in suicide rates, which is the subject of one article in this Humanitarian Bulletin.
A disturbing number of suicides in recent months has highlighted a growing public health issue in the occupied Palestine territory (oPt), particularly in the Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of 2020, 24 people, including four women and five children, have reportedly taken their lives, compared to 22 reported suicides in all of 2019. These figures probably do not convey the full extent of the problem in the oPt, where suicide is shrouded in social stigma, ‘shame’ and ‘sinfulness’, as well as potential legal ramifications.
On 26 September 2019, the cleaner at Al Bahrain Elementary Boys School in Gaza city found a suspicious object in the school backyard. The school is run by UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Statement by Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick: The period from March to August 2020 saw the demolition or confiscation of 389 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, on average, 65 per month, the highest average destruction rate in four years.
The deterioration witnessed in recent weeks in the Gaza Strip is of grave concern. In the context of an escalation of hostilities with Palestinian armed groups launching projectiles into Israel, Israel has limited the transfer of certain goods into the blockaded coastal enclave, reduced the permissible fishing area and prevented fuel deliveries, including the UN-facilitated fuel for Gaza’s sole Power Plant. As a result, the Gaza Power Plant ceased operations on 18 August, sharply reducing electricity provision to nearly 2 million Palestinians.
Um Fuad, a 45-year-old registered Palestine refugee, lives with her husband and four children in Wadi al Khazrak in the northern Jenin governorate. Her small Bedouin hamlet is one of seven Palestinian communities that make up the Barta’a enclave, located between the Barrier and the 1949 Armistice Line (‘Green Line’), and now physically separated from the remainder of the West Bank.