The OPT Flash Appeal calls for approximately US $ 294 million for 77 humanitarian partners to address the most urgent needs of 1,260,000 people in the Gaza Strip (Gaza) and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It brings together the work and funding requirements of the humanitarian community in OPT, including 13 UN Agencies, 29 International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and 35 National NGOs (NNGOs).
UNRWA plays a unique role in OPT, serving as the main direct provider of basic services – education, health, relief and social services, protection, camp infrastructure and improvement and emergency assistance - to 1.5 million registered Palestine refugees in Gaza. In the West Bank, UNRWA serves 1.1 million Palestine refugees and other registered persons, of whom 890,000 are refugees. UNRWA is part of the humanitarian architecture in OPT and coordinates through the humanitarian cluster system. Their requirements are included in this appeal.
However, funding in 2023 has been a challenge and the humanitarian needs compunded by the current situation in Gaza, May 2023 escalation in Gaza, and deteriorating situation in the West Bank have left humanitarian organizations without the resources required to adequately respond to the full range of needs of the most vulnerable Palestinians.
The 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) identifies 2.1 million Palestinians as requiring urgent assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), where humanitarian needs are primarily driven by the protracted Israeli military occupation, 15 years of the Gaza blockade, internal Palestinian political divisions and recurrent hostilities between Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups. This represents 58 per cent of Gaza Strip residents and one quarter of West Bank Residents.
As of 7 October 2023, since the early morning hours, Palestinian armed groups in Gaza launched more than 3,500 missiles and rockets towards Israel and breached the perimeter fence of Gaza in multiple locations. Members of armed groups entered Israeli towns, communities, and military facilities near the Gaza Strip, killing and capturing Israeli forces and civilians. The Israeli military declared “a state of war alert,” and began striking targets in the Gaza Strip.
The deadliest attack in Israel in decades, more than 1,300 Israeli and foreign nationals, including women, children, and the elderly, were killed in Israel by members of Palestinian armed groups, including one paramedic, according to Israeli media. According to the Ministry of Health, at least 3,391 people have been injured, the vast majority on 7 October. Between 100 and 150 Israelis, including Israeli forces and civilians, including women, children, elderly and foreign nationals, have been captured and forcibly taken into Gaza, according to Israeli sources.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports at least 1,417 Palestinians have been killed, including 447 children and 248 women, and 6,268 injured. At the time of writing, 423,378 Palestinians have been displaced, with UNRWA hosting around 64 per cent of them in 102 premises, some of which are designated emergency shelters. Additionally, 26,984 IDPs have taken refuge at 29 public schools. It is estimated that over 153,004 IDPs are with relatives and neighbours, as well as in other public facilities. According to the Gaza Ministry of Public Works, 752 residential and non-residential buildings, comprising 2,835 housing units, have been destroyed. Another 1,791 housing units have been damaged beyond repair and rendered uninhabitable.
Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel and has stopped functioning, cutting the only electricity source to the Gaza strip. This followed the announcement on 9 October by Israeli authorities that they would halt provision of electricity and fuel supplies to Gaza. Sanitation facilities have also been damaged, destroyed or rendered inoperable.
As of 12 October, most residents in the Gaza Strip no longer have access to drinking water from service providers or domestic water through pipelines. Since the start of hostilities, six water wells, three water pumping station, one water reservoir, and one desalination plant serving over 1.1 million people have been damaged by airstrikes and Israeli authorities ceased providing water supplies on 8 October. UNICEF reports some have already begun drinking seawater, which is highly saline and contaminated with sewage from the discharge of over 120,000 cubic meters of untreated wastewater daily.
Health facilities are overwhelmed, medical stocks are in short supply and access to hospitals and medical care is hindered by the ongoing hostilities and damaged roads. According to WHO, 18 healthcare facilities and 20 ambulances were hit by airstrikes. PRCS reports 11 fatalities and 16 injuries to medical personnel, four of whom were killed when an ambulance was hit. Gaza is home to 50,000 pregnant women who are struggling to access essential health services as healthcare workers, hospitals and clinics come under attack. Some 5,500 of these women are due to give birth in the coming month. Since the imposition of closures in the West Bank there have been cases reported to UNFPA of women having to birth at checkpoints.
Prior to the recent hostilities, Gaza already bore a heavy mental health burden, particularly among children. A recent assessment conducted by Terre des Hommes on behalf of the Child Protection Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group, revealed that 54.6 per cent of those surveyed exhibited below-average levels of well-being and 36 per cent reported experiencing moderate to severe levels of anxiety. The level of toxic stress under which children liveis having a clear and significant impact on their psychosocial wellbeing.
According to the Education Cluster, at least 88 education facilities have been struck. This includes 18 UNRWA schools, two of which were used as emergency shelters for IDPs, and 70 public schools. For the sixth consecutive day, there has been no access to education or safe spaces for more than 600,000 children in Gaza.
Nearly 60 per cent of households in Gaza were considered food insecure or vulnerable to food insecurity prior to the October hostilities. The livelihoods of many farmers, breeders, herders, and fishers have been negatively impacted by the destruction, damage or lack of access to their lands, productive assets, and farming intrstructure. Poultry and livestock sectors risk complete collapse due to the severe shortage of fodders, placing at risk the livelihood of 30,000 households, or 150 000 people, and the availability of meat and other fresh sources of protein for the entire population of Gaza.
Initial Ministry of Agriculture estimates daily losses of more than US $100,000 from the closure of borders and the inability to export more than 80 tons of fresh agricultural products.
Affected farmers, herders and fishers require immediate food, fodder, and production inputs assistance to reactivate their productive capacities and livelihoods and avoid long-term aid dependence. Those still displaced remain in need of emergency food assistance. Also in need are vulnerable families, including those headed by women, the elderly, and those with special needs and people in poor health.
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Destruction of habitat
• ESC rights
• Forced evictions
• Human rights
• People under occupation
• Solidarity campaign