OCHA’s hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #23

On 28 and 29 October, the vicinities of Shifa and Al Quds hospitals in Gaza City and of the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza were reportedly bombarded, causing damage. This followed renewed calls by the Israeli military to evacuate these facilities immediately. All ten hospitals still operational in Gaza City and northern Gaza have received repeated evacuation orders in recent days. Thousands of patients and medical staff, as well as about 117,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), are staying in these facilities.

On 28 October, the World Health Organization (WHO) called upon “all parties to the conflict to take all precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure [including] health workers, patients, health facilities and ambulances, and civilians who are sheltering in these facilities.” WHO reiterated “that it is impossible to evacuate patients without endangering their lives.” On 26 October, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lynn Hastings, stated  that “for people who can’t evacuate – because they have nowhere to go or are unable to move – advance warnings make no difference.” 
  • On 28 October, thousands of people broke into several UNRWA warehouses and distribution centers in the middle and southern areas of Gaza, taking wheat flour, hygiene supplies, and other items. On 29 October, UNRWA’s Operations Director, Tom White, indicated that “this is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza.”
  • On 29 October, at least 33 trucks carrying water, food, and medical supplies entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. This is the largest delivery of humanitarian aid since 21 October, when limited deliveries resumed. While this increase is welcome, a much larger volume of aid is needed on a regular basis to prevent further deterioration in the dire humanitarian situation, including civil unrest. In particular, the entry of fuel to operate medical equipment and water and sanitation facilities is urgently required.
  • Telecommunication in Gaza, including cellular lines and internet services were largely restored by the morning of 29 October, after being shut down on the evening of 27 October.
  • 302 Palestinians were killed in Gaza between 18:00 on 28 October and noon on 29 October, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. This brings the cumulative reported fatality toll in Gaza since the start of hostilities to 8,005, of whom 67 per cent are reportedly children and women.
  • As of 29 October, more than 1.4 million people in Gaza were internally displaced, with some 671,000 sheltering in 150 UNRWA facilities. The average number of IDPs per shelter is over three times their intended capacity.
  • Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket firing towards Israeli population continued over the past 24 hours, with no fatalities reported. Overall, about 1,400 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • According to the Israeli authorities, 239 people are held captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals. Forty people are still reported missing. Media reports indicated that about 30 of the hostages are children. Four adult hostages were released on 20 and 23 October. On 26 October, Hamas claimed that 50 of the hostages had been killed by Israeli airstrikes.
  • In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed four Palestinians between the afternoon of 28 October and 21:00 on 29 October. During this time, another Palestinian died of wounds sustained previously. This brings the total number of Palestinian fatalities by Israeli forces or settlers since 7 October to 115, including 33 children, alongside one Israeli soldier killed by Palestinians.
  • Nearly 1,000 Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from their homes in the West Bank since 7 October. This includes at least 98 Palestinian households, comprising over 800 people, driven out from 15 herding/Bedouin communities in Area C, amid intensified settler violence and access restrictions. Another 121 Palestinians were displaced following the demolition of their homes by the Israeli authorities on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits or on punitive grounds.
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