In the Gaza Strip, the unsustainable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) situation exacerbated by the longstanding blockade has been compounded by the 2014 conflict. Problems arising from the prohibition on entry of ‘dual-use’ materials, inadequate power supplies and lack of government regulation have seriously affected the WASH situation in Gaza. The majority of Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank are not connected to the water network or are irregularly supplied by it, forcing people to rely on expensive tankered water. Inadequate water for drinking, domestic consumption and for livestock, is affecting the overall resilience of these communities. The destruction of essential WASH infrastructure lacking building permits generates a coercive environment, and can lead to displacement, poverty and increased risk of disease and illness.
Supported by donors, the UN has been coordinating the delivery of emergency fuel to run back-up generators and vehicles in the Gaza Strip since 2013. This has ensured that a minimal level of life-saving health, water and sanitation services are maintained despite the severe energy crisis.
Today, the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF) released approximately US $900,000 for health and food support over the next six months to around 140,000 Palestinians, almost half of them children, in dozens of West Bank communities, including in East Jerusalem
Funding is desperately needed for emergency fuel: Emergency fuel for critical facilities in Gaza will become exhausted within the next ten days, the United Nations warned today, noting an urgent need for donor support to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe driven by the energy crisis.
I am deeply concerned about the significant reduction in funding for UNRWA, which is critical to the provision of humanitarian assistance in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Some 2.5 million Palestinians in this area, or about half of the population, need humanitarian aid, including 1.4 million Palestine refugees, who are among the most vulnerable groups in the oPt. The reduction is particularly worrying against the backdrop of an overall decline in humanitarian funding in the oPt in recent years.
Intense military training exercises over the past two months and the obstruction of key access routes have exacerbated the coercive environment imposed on approximately 1,300 residents of 12 Palestinian herding communities in southern Hebron.
In the Gaza Strip, another winter season brings with it the threat of temporary displacement, property losses and health risks due to flooding and poor housing conditions. Insufficient funding, import restrictions, the ongoing energy crisis and the limited capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD) are key factors that hinder the ability of the relevant actors to reduce vulnerability and respond effectively.