Number of homes destroyed: 10,770

Among the factories destroyed were some of Gaza’s most profitable. Photo: Karl Schembri

Among the factories destroyed were some of Gaza’s most profitable. Photo: Karl Schembri

August 7, 2014. According to the United Nations, some people who had been taking shelter in UN schools returned home. As of yesterday, 187,000 people were still taking shelter in UN schools and 245,600 were estimated to be taking shelter in other public institutions or in the homes of family and friends. The UN reported that 10,770 homes were severely or completely damaged.

Electricity

Technicians fixed three high tension lines transferring electricity purchased from Israel, bringing the total number of functioning lines from Israel to six. Three lines serve the northern part of the Strip, two supply the southern area and Khan Yunis and one serves Gaza City. Three lines from Egypt continue to feed the Rafah area. Technicians from the electricity company worked today to fix three additional lines from Israel.

Electricity supply in the Strip is only available through high tension lines from Israel and Egypt, as Gaza’s sole power plant remains inoperable following bombardments. As of today, the available supply of electricity in Gaza was 100 megawatts while need is estimated to be at least 350 MW, a shortage of 71%. Throughout the Strip, electricity supply is between three to seven hours per day.

Crossings

Kerem Shalom operated today for entrance of goods and fuel. Due to some technical difficulties at the crossing, less fuel entered than had been expected.

Erez Crossing continued to operate according to a restricted format for casualties of the operation, medical patients and their companions. Foreign citizens were also permitted to cross.

Rafah Crossing was open for casualties of the operation, medical patients, those with foreign citizenship and residency as well as people holding foreign visas.

August 6, 2014. The Palestinian Federation of Industries and the Palestinian Businessman’s Association estimate that 170 factories and workshops were destroyed during Operation Protective Edge. This following earlier estimates that only 100 factories had been destroyed.

Among the factories destroyed were some of Gaza’s most profitable such as Al Badr, upon which hundreds of farmers relied for their livelihood, the Tilbani factory which produced biscuits and date bars, Al Wadia for processed foods, and the only cardboard box and medicine factories in the Strip.

Unemployment 

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics released updated data on unemployment for the second quarter of this year. On the eve of the military operation, unemployment in Gaza stood at 45%, compared to 40.5% during the first quarter of the year. Among women, unemployment rose to 60.8% compared to 52.4% during the first quarter, and among young people (aged 15-29), unemployment rose to 63.3% from 58.2%. The number of employed people dropped by 17,000 individuals, including 1,421 people in the construction industry.

Crossings

Kerem Shalom operated today for entrance of fuel and other goods to Gaza. Seven truckloads of gasoline, six truckloads of diesel, and five truckloads of cooking gas were expected to enter the Strip for the private sector, in addition to three truckloads of diesel for UNRWA.

Erez Crossing continued to operate in a limited fashion for exit of casualties of the military operation and medical patients and their companions. Foreign citizens also crossed in both directions.

Photo: Sewage in Gaza, before Operation Protective Edge. Photo: Mohammed Azaiza

August 5, 2014. The Palestinian Federation of Industries reported that at least 100 factories and workshops were completely or heavily damaged during Operation Protective Edge. Many of the factories had previously been operating at partial capacity, in part due the ban on marketing goods from Gaza in the West Bank and Israel.

Water

The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility in Gaza has begun light repairs to water and sewage infrastructure. The estimated value of damage to water and sewage infrastructure currently stands at $30 million however it is expected to rise as technicians make additional assessments in areas that until now have been unreachable, particularly in eastern areas of the Strip. Some of the damage could be fixed in as little as six months, whereas in areas with severe damage, repairs could take a year or more.

A third of Gaza’s water wells are located in areas that have been completely destroyed. Desalination facilities were damaged as were sewage treatment facilities, main water pipelines, as well as those carrying water and sewage to and from heavily populated areas. As a result of the extensive damage to sanitation infrastructure, 80 million liters of untreated sewage continue to flow into the sea each day.

Electricity 

The Gaza Electricity Distribution Corporation (GEDCo) reported that only three out of 10 high tension lines carrying electricity purchased from Israel are currently functioning. These mainly supply the northern areas and also Khan Yunis. In the center of Gaza, residents receive approximately two hours of electricity per day. Today repairs were expected to be made inside Gaza to three additional high tension lines coming from Israel.

Two truckloads of spare parts and other items needed to make repairs to electricity infrastructure were expected to enter Gaza from the West Bank. GEDCo is attempting to respond quickly and make repairs to existing electricity lines coming from Israel and Egypt, given that the power plant is completely not functioning after having been bombarded.

Crossings

Kerem Shalom Crossing was open today for entrance of goods for the private sector and international humanitarian organizations. Starting on Sunday, Israel began allowing entrance for additional items, including clothing and shoes, which hadn’t entered since the start of the month. Today, approximately 200 truckloads of goods and 22 truckloads of fuel were expected to enter the Strip. This week vegetables entered the Strip, such as onions and tomatoes, products that are typically not purchased from Israel and are rather grown locally in Gaza. Farmers were not able to reach their lands and get products to market due to the military operation, and crops were also damaged, leading to shortages in fruits and vegetables.

Erez Crossing continued to operate in a restricted fashion for exit of casualties of the military operation, medical patients and their companions and foreign citizens. Yesterday and the day before, 76 medical patients, casualties and their companions entered Israel, in addition to transit of foreign citizens in both directions.

Rafah Crossing was open yesterday and the day before, however, due to heavy fighting in the area, Palestinian officials did not arrive to the crossing and as such the crossing was not open on the Palestinian side. Yesterday, 100 individuals set up camp at the crossing demanding to travel out, however, they were not able to exit until this morning when Palestinian officials returned to their postings. Fifteen casualties of the military operation also managed to transit to Egypt today.

August 4, 2014. Most residents of Gaza do not have access to running water due to damage to water wells and lack of electricity. Water is available for purchase in stores, when they are open, or from desalination stations. Of 225 water wells, approximately 50 were damaged and another 50 are not operational because technicians cannot reach them to make repairs. Of the remaining 125, only 30 are functioning, for lack of electricity.

Water officials also report that damage to water infrastructure is extensive, yet the security situation and ongoing hostilities prevent proper assessment of the situation as well as repairs.

The water authority is distributing between 7,000 – 10,000 liters of water to each UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons at a time. IDPS number about 270,000 people in 90 schools. This amount of water is a fraction of what people need.

UN agencies warn of serious health consequences resulting from the lack of access to water, the sanitation situation and overcrowding in shelters.

Crossings 

Kerem Shalom Crossing opened today for entrance of fuel and other basic products. The amount of goods that entered each day since the start of the military operation represents just 38% of the amount that entered daily in June. The daily amount of fuel that entered was 43% of what entered daily in June. The products entering were mainly fuel, food items, sanitary products, blankets and mattresses. Of the total truckloads that entered in July, about 61% were loaded with food items, while in June that amount was 40%.

Erez Crossing operated in a restricted format for passage of medical patients and their companions and casualties of the operation.

Fighting continued in the Rafah area, making it difficult for passengers to reach the crossing. The interior ministry in Gaza posted a notice on its website yesterday warning people that the area was unsafe.

August 3, 2014. The Palestinian Water Authority and the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility announced that they could no longer provide water and wastewater services to the majority of Gaza’s residents. The officials also warned that Gaza is on the verge of a humanitarian and environmental crisis and called on international humanitarian agencies to take immediate action to confront the problem.

Due to severe shortages of electricity and damage to water pumps and wastewater treatment facilities, there is a lack of drinking water and running water in hospitals, homes, clinics and shelters. The Palestinian Water Authority and the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility added that six of its workers were killed in the hostilities while on duty and that water and sewage treatment infrastructure has been severely damaged.

Electricity

Out of ten high tension lines bringing electricity purchased from Israel, transferring 12 megawatts (MW) each, only one is still functional and is transferring electricity to the Beit Lahia area in northern Gaza. Today another line serving Jabalia, in northern Gaza, was hit. The line directly supplies Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital (providing three hours of electricity per day).

In GazaCity, Deir al Balah, Bureij, and Nuseirat in central Gaza, there is no electricity supply at all. In other areas, supplied by the one line from Israel, there are two hours of electricity per day.

Technicians from the electricity company are still unable to reach the areas near the border fence with Israel in order to fix the lines that have been damaged. They estimate that some of the lines are also damaged on the Israeli side.

Three days ago, one line between Gaza and Egypt was damaged and two lines continue to operate, supplying 15 MW. The Palestinian ambassador to Egypt announced that Egypt agreed to provide 32 MW instead of 28 provided until now and to provide an additional 15 MW at some point in the future. These additions would still be far from meeting need in Gaza which stands at 350 MW.

Crossings

Erez Crossing operated today in a limited fashion for medical patients and their companions, casualties of the military operation and their companions, and foreign citizens. As of the afternoon, 24 medical patients and their companions and 11 casualties had exited via Erez. On Saturday the crossing was closed and on Friday it was open for urgent medical cases and casualties.

Kerem Shalom was open today. As of the writing of this update, we did not receive full information about what crossed. Kerem Shalom was also open on Saturday and Friday for a time for passage of goods, however, the crossing closed early on Friday due to heavy fighting in the Rafah area which is not far from the crossing.

Rafah Crossing was open today, however, heavy bombardments in the area rendered it difficult for Palestinians to reach the crossing. On Friday, only one bus of foreign passports and residency holders exited Gaza to Egypt. An additional 120 passengers from the categories permitted for travel, casualties and foreign passport holders, became caught in transit between the Palestinian and Egyptian sides of the crossing until 10pm due to heavy fighting in the area.