State of Palestine : Humanitarian State of affairs Report, No. 1, January – March 2021 – occupied Palestinian territory


• As of March 31, 2021, there were 270,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 percent were women and 13 percent were children under the age of 18.

• UNICEF distributed e-vouchers for access to hygiene kits to 5,900 families in Hebron and Bethlehem governorates, benefiting 35,400 people. A further 7,683 adults (3,903 men and 3,780 women) and 510 kindergarten workers in the Gaza Strip received hygiene kits.

• Through family centers in the Gaza Strip, UNICEF and its local partners reached 3,599 vulnerable children (57 percent girls) with structured psychosocial support, including individual counseling, group counseling, life skills, child-parent interaction sessions and other psychosocial support group activities. Another 622 children (42 percent girls) benefited from individual case management.

• In addition, 3,019 children were given tablets to access distance learning while the school was closed.

• A total of 1,265 high-risk pregnant and breastfeeding women and 6,655 children (3,372 boys and 3,283 girls) under the age of 5 benefited from basic health and nutrition services.

• Funding needs for UNICEF Humanitarian Appeal 2021 are $ 21.58 million and $ 7.9 million (37 percent) of the need was available.

Situation in numbers

1,200,000 children in need of humanitarian aid
2,450,000 people in need in total (OCHA HNO 2021)
395,437 number of children to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)
480,000 people to be reached (UNICEF HAC 2021)

Financing overview and partnerships

In 2021 UNICEF received an important humanitarian contribution from the Japanese government and the UNICEF Global Thematic Humanitarian Fund. Funding needs for UNICEF’s humanitarian appeal for 2021 are $ 21,585,576 million, with only $ 7,973,956 million (37 percent) of the needs available to date.

Situation overview and humanitarian needs

The spread of COVID-19 continued for a second year in a row to exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, affect children’s well-being, and limit boys and girls’ access to essential services. As of March 31, 2021, there were 270,878 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 50 percent were women and 13 percent were children under the age of 18.

On March 17, the State of Palestine received the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccine doses were transferred to the ultra cold chain and the Ministry of Health’s vaccine warehouses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As of March 31, only 78,379 people had received the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, of whom 8,687 are now fully vaccinated.

The education cluster estimates that 503,927 people across the Palestinian state are in need of humanitarian aid in education. This includes 489,009 children (254,493 boys and 234,516 girls), of whom 9,780 are children with a disability (CWD) who have difficulty receiving quality education in a safe, child-friendly environment. The other 14,918 in need of humanitarian aid are teachers (6,008 men, 8,910 women). The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the transition to online education have highlighted the digital divide in the State of Palestine between children who have access to digital learning opportunities and children who do not. This gap is common in remote and disadvantaged areas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Many students lack internet access, devices, and adequate digital skills. Only 44 percent of households (50 percent in the West Bank and 36 percent in the Gaza Strip) with children between 10 and 17 years of age who are currently enrolled in schools have the necessary devices (desktop, laptop or tablet) to give their children access to online Enable learning materials.

Before the outbreak, around a quarter of Palestinians were living below the poverty line, including 53 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip and 14 percent in the West Bank. It is estimated that the proportion of poor households will rise to 64 percent in the Gaza Strip and 30 percent in the West Bank due to the pandemic and the associated lockdown measures.

In April 2021, the United States announced it would donate $ 150 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA). Fund restoration comes after UNRWA faced a severe financial crisis in recent years. The COVID19 pandemic has only made things worse, forcing the agency to respond to a public health crisis amid the worst financial crisis in its history.

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