Following a six-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller, called on the international community to ensure continued commitment and consistent and sustained funding to help alleviate the challenges faced by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Muslih A’ta Wafi lives with his wife and seven children on the ground floor of a threestorey house in one of the lowest points of Khan Younis city. “In preparation for the 2018 winter season, we added another layer to the floor to raise it and prevent flooding,” said Muslih. “Unfortunately, this only prevented light rain from flooding the house, but whenever it rained heavily, our home flooded with a mix of sewage and rainwater. Last year, we lost most of our furniture.”
Basheer Sous, President of the Beit Jala Farmers’ Society, owns several plots of land in the Al Makhrour area of Beit Jala in Bethlehem governorate, which he shares with his brothers. Al Makhrour extends for approximately 3,000 dunums and in addition to Beit Jala, includes land which the villages of Al Walaja, Batir, Husan, Wadi Fukin and Nahalin have traditionally used. The apricot, olive, fig and almond trees in Al Makhrour, irrigated by natural springs, are an important source of livelihood for farmers from these communities.
With the onset of winter, an estimated 235,000 people, living in low-lying areas in the Gaza Strip lacking adequate infrastructure, are at risk of flooding, due to the possible overflow of stormwater facilities and sewage pumping stations. Initial reports indicate that approximately 2,000 homes have already been flooded,following heavy rains recorded on 8 and 9 December 2019. As the first article in this month’s Humanitarian Bulletin explains, this is due to the lack of maintenance and repair of these facilities, compounded by a shortage of fuel to operate backup generators. Underfunding drives these deficits: in 2019, less than 74 per cent of the $68 million needed to operate Gaza’s 484 public water and sanitation facilities was secured.
2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for the occupied Palestinian territory targets rising needs amidst new challenges: Today, the Prime Minister of the State of Palestine, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh, and the Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, launched the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2020 in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
In the early hours of 12 November, the Israeli Air Force targeted and killed a commander of the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and his wife, while they were sleeping in their home in the northern Gaza Strip. The incident triggered an escalation in hostilities between Israel and various Palestinian armed factions, excluding Hamas. On the morning of 14 November, a cessation of hostilities entered into force and has been largely holding.