OCHA supports efforts to confront Corona in Palestine

The United Nations for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), from its offices in occupied Jerusalem, launched its strategy to confront the "Corona" virus in Palestine in cooperation with partner organizations in the field of humanitarian work, in the report That covers the period from March 5 to tomorrow March 31.

It estimated the number of people currently under quarantine at more than 10,000. Confirmed cases with Covid-19 virus are being referred to two health facilities, one in Jericho (the Military Academy) and the other in Turmusaya town, Ramallah (Hugo Chavez Hospital).

The United Nations called for the provision of all medical supplies for the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, and said that the ability of the Palestinian health system to adapt to an expected increase in cases infected with Covid-19 virus suffers from severe shortages due to long-term challenges and critical deficiencies that marred it, and the severity of this situation Especially in the Gaza Strip, where the health system has been undermined by the prolonged Israeli blockade, the Palestinian internal division, the chronic deficit in electricity supplies and the lack of specialized personnel, medicines and equipment.

The report pointed out that, as in other places, the most vulnerable groups, the condition of which may require extensive medical care, include the elderly, people suffering from high blood pressure, lung disease, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. People living in overcrowding, especially in refugee camps and poor and densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, face a greater risk of infection due to poor sanitation systems, including water supplies that do not live up to the required standards and are not regular and shared toilets .

She said: "The most urgent materials that are now underrepresented and indispensable to contain the spread of the epidemic and reduce the risk of deaths among vulnerable groups include: personal protective equipment and other essential supplies to prevent and control infection, equipment, consumables and drugs necessary to treat shortness of breath, and ventilator, Heart monitors, recovery vehicles, portable X-ray machines and equipment for HIV Covid-19 infection testing. Hospitals across the Occupied Palestinian Territory are facing a shortage of specialized personnel in intensive care units. Enter the required improvements to the infrastructure of laboratories in order to comply with the stringent safety standards of biological, while crews laboratory in Gaza suffer from major gaps in training and specialized skills.

She stressed that these needs are particularly increasing in the Gaza Strip, in view of the impact of the blockade, the three combat escalations, and the impact of the high number of casualties in the context of the recent "Great March of Return".

In the Gaza Strip, the initial impact of the Corona virus on the overall economy is still limited, however, the impact of long-term disruption of the economy in Gaza is of great concern, given the already deteriorating economic situation in it, where unemployment rates have approached 43 percent in the last quarter Since 2019, rates have reached 64 percent among young people, and about 53 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of $ 4.6.

The United Nations said in its report: "The economic impact of this crisis is still limited, mainly to date, to workers who have lost their income from their work in Israel, along with some businesses in the West Bank, especially in the city of Bethlehem, after being forced to close Its doors, and it is expected that the number of people affected by the loss of their income in the West Bank, in particular, will increase soon after the tightening of restrictions and the effect it has on all sectors of the economy (including services, manufacturing, construction and transportation).

Inter-agency and Humanitarian Response Plan

In accordance with the strategy and the report, and under the guidance of the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, United Nations agencies and NGOs have prepared a series of interventions aimed at supporting the efforts of the Palestinian authorities and have begun work on their implementation. At the core of these interventions is an inter-agency response plan to address Covid-19 virus, prepared by the Health Cluster.

This plan outlines in detail the priority actions that are considered critical during the next three months, in order to address urgent shortcomings and gaps in the capacity of the health system, while working to improve the preparedness efforts of the Ministry of Health in the event of the worst scenario. This initial plan seeks to halt the increase in virus transmission, provide adequate care to infected patients and support their families, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic, including through mental health services and psychosocial support. The plan also includes a communications program, which includes the circulation of health guidelines, to mobilize society and fight rumors and misleading information .

In its current form, the plan seeks to mobilize an amount of $ 6.5 million to support these efforts, and the required funding for different sectors is likely to witness a significant increase due to the size of the epidemic and the gradual expansion in response to the vital axes in the different sectors. Less than $ 1.5 million to date, including $ 1 million earmarked by the Humanitarian Fund for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, $ 120,000 from WHO funds, and $ 367,000 from UNICEF's budget.

The United Nations said: "The activities covered by the plan will be complemented by additional interventions that address other aspects of the crisis and are implemented by partner organizations in the areas of food security, shelter and non-food items, protection, education, water and sanitation and hygiene.

The plan said that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) launched an independent, urgent appeal, requesting $ 14 million to cover interventions related to the Covid-19 virus in its five areas of operation (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank), and for the next 90 days. Also, the proposed activities include preparedness and response measures in UNRWA's health and educational facilities, and covering health expenditures that obligate vulnerable individuals. The partner organizations in the humanitarian field are making efforts to maintain vital axes from their regular programs, and Continued to partner organizations in the health group working to raise the level of response.

She added that she continues to work to distribute food, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene services, and forms of response to demolitions and settler violence. Because of the severe restrictions on access, humanitarian partner organizations must prioritize humanitarian interventions only.

Priority needs

(Osha) said that based on the current epidemiological situation in the eastern Mediterranean basin, the risk facing the occupied Palestinian territory is very high, and additional risk factors include the high prevalence of noncommunicable diseases and smoking among the population, and the large number of vulnerable people, including refugees, The fragile public health system, especially in the Gaza Strip. Among the priority needs, especially in the Gaza Strip, are sets of personal protective equipment and other essential materials and supplies to prevent and control infection, such as disinfection and sterilization materials. Publications on this side show that a large number of health teams are at risk of contamination, and if health workers are exposed to infection, this may have a devastating effect on the entire health response, and there are only 700 sets of personal protective equipment currently, and to date, the Gaza Strip does not have the Gaza Strip. Only 1,000 swabs and 500 tests are required, and the training of laboratory personnel is mandatory.

The United Nations stressed the importance of securing necessary supplies for case management in health facilities designated for patients with Covid-19 virus, especially oxygen concentrators, critical respirators, and supplies for patients who are classified as dangerous, who are not in intensive care units, Support is required for the Rafah field hospital, which receives confirmed cases, and the European hospital in Gaza.

She said that the additional burden unrelated to the Covid-19 virus in Gaza, which includes about 1,700 patients referred to East Jerusalem hospitals, who were prevented from traveling due to the closure of the Erez crossing, and about 4,000 optional surgeries postponed due to preparedness measures (along with more From 8,000 previous cases).

According to United Nations projections, the occupied Palestinian territory will witness more than 30,000 new births within the next three months, and because of increased pressure on the health system and restrictions on movement, it is important to avoid disrupting services that save the lives of women and newborns, including prenatal and postnatal care. And family planning.

The response

In the context of the Health Cluster plan, the partner organizations implemented the following activities: the supply of 2,500 sets of personal protective equipment, including surgical masks, medical masks, suits, gloves, and safety goggles, and other medical supplies and hygiene products, to be distributed to Ministry of Health facilities. By the end of March, 60,000 protective suits and 13,000 surgical masks will be delivered.

She said that UNICEF supports nine partner organizations in Gaza and six in the West Bank by supplying basic hygiene kits. Infection prevention and control materials, valued at approximately $ 18,000, are to be shipped to key implementing partners to support the delivery of maternal and child health, nutrition and early childhood development services. CARE International also supports the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a front-line care provider, with supplies of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control materials. UNFPA provides personal protection equipment to partner organizations that provide sexual and reproductive health services. WHO and partner organizations of the group also support the Ministry of Health in assessing and equipping isolation and quarantine units and providing guidance on the proper management of cases.

The United Nations said that the World Health Organization will supply laboratory equipment and supplies, support the Ministry of Health in increasing laboratory capacity, including rehabilitation of the central public health laboratory, and organizing training workshops in the field of laboratory detection. The World Health Organization will also support the Ministry of Health in improving its existing systems for monitoring respiratory diseases, and establishing a system to determine cases of infection at entry points, in health facilities and in population centers.

the influence

The United Nations confirmed that five of UNICEF's eighteen child protection partners have completely ceased their activities, and another 12 have significantly reduced their activities, and partner organizations do not have the capacity to work until secure safeguards protocols and hygiene items, and many families do not allow Home visits due to increased fears of infection. Meanwhile, concerns about protecting vulnerable populations, raising concerns about the virus, economic hardship and quarantine measures, have exacerbated household-level tensions, exacerbating vulnerabilities that affect women and children and increasing their risk of violence, including from it. Violence between spouses, gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse.

The United Nations pointed out that the Gaza Strip suffers from a chronic shortage of safe places and recreational areas for children. More than 500,000 children now spend their days in their homes, and many of them play on the streets or work in them. The disturbances and associated stress factors that affect mental health increase the risks to children, such as anxiety, shock, relapse of the psychological and social situation and the spread of violence. A gateway to the poor living conditions in the quarantine centers in the Gaza Strip, including the absence of it. Privacy, proper water and sanitation facilities and hygiene.

The United Nations pointed out that the withdrawal of international actors who were present to provide protection in the West Bank led to an increase in the exposure of some of the population to the violence of settlers and the aggravation of their degree of vulnerability.

One of the NGOs that exist to provide protection, the Ecumenical Escort Program in Palestine and Israel, estimates that suspending the work of its five teams will affect more than 200 communities. 150 vulnerable children (ages 14 to 17) are affected by the closure of vocational training centers.

(Osha) said that the local non-governmental organizations formed an emergency team of 27 respondents in the Bethlehem area in partnership with the Palestinian Social and Psychologists Association, to provide psychosocial support to individuals infected with Covid-19 virus in isolation, and to respond to the needs of the population in general.

According to the United Nations, it is estimated that 5,000 families in Gaza do not meet their minimum standards of shelter, and that they need support to upgrade these standards, especially with regard to overcrowding, and the measures include increasing the area of ​​living space and increasing the size of homes. The cost is estimated at $ 2,000 per household.

The report said that another 2,000 families in Gaza rely on shared toilets and other facilities, which pose health risks. Affected families need more sanitation. The cost is estimated at $ 1,000 per family. Moreover, about 20,000 people in stone and vulnerable facilities in Gaza and the West Bank need non-food and hygiene kits, as well as outreach materials, at a cost of $ 70 per group.

It indicated that the partner organizations in the shelter group provided assistance to the stone centers that were established to accommodate travelers coming to Gaza. On March 17-18, agencies distributed more than 4,000 non-food items (mattresses, blankets, pillows and mats), about 500 hygiene kits and 250 tarpaulins (shadows) to 10 government schools in Gaza, which were converted into quarantine centers.


According to the United Nations, all educational institutions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are still closed since March 6, and these include 3,037 schools, including 2,300 schools in the West Bank and 737 schools in Gaza, along with 2,017 kindergartens. A total of 1,430,000 children, 57 percent of them in the West Bank and 43 percent in Gaza, were affected as a result. Among the basic needs arising are:

Provide distance learning services, as the Ministry of Education needs e-learning materials and platforms to ensure continued learning from home. It is estimated that 360,000 children across the oPt live in families without an internet connection and that they need paper materials to learn in their homes.

"All 1.43 million children need to receive age-appropriate information about the Covid-19 virus. 215,000 children and their parents and 3,000 teachers need psychosocial support via social media and phone calls. The 402 toilets need Schools in Gaza and the West Bank urgently need rehabilitation, and 134 schools need new, clean points to supply drinking water.

The United Nations said the education group supported the Ministry of Education in preparing a response plan, and attached the group's coordinator to the ministry. This plan was completed and circulated to stakeholders on March 17. Four task forces were formed to support implementation: distance learning, provision of mental health and psychosocial support, promotion of hygiene, restoration of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools, and distribution of school hygiene kits. The task forces will contribute to providing technical capabilities and securing the funds necessary to implement the plan. Among the main steps that have been implemented:

Procedures are underway to supply approximately 15 percent of hygiene and cleaning supplies to schools. The group's partner organizations have begun working with the Ministry of Education on content and information technology solutions for distance learning.

Water, sanitation and hygiene

She said the main challenge is to ensure continued access to safe drinking water and sanitation, regardless of increasing restrictions, in order to alleviate the burden of the Covid-19 virus. The current needs identified by the Palestinian Water Authority and other service providers to ensure cleaning and sterilization of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities include: the supply of calcium hypochlorite and other disinfection materials, at an initial cost of approximately $ 188,000, and the rehabilitation of basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

Response according to the UN report While work is still underway to prepare a response plan in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, the group's partner organizations have implemented the following: Supporting the health cluster plan by promoting hygiene and adapting ongoing interventions in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector To respond to the current emergency. And activating the emergency plan prepared by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Group, and securing spare parts, tanks and hygiene supplies to respond to the emergency.


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