Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel- Flash Update #28

Ghazal, 14, became homeless when her family home was destroyed in early October 2023. When she was just five, she lost her previous home in hostilities and remained displaced for two years. Photo by © UNICEF/El Baba, 2 November 2023

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

  • Israeli ground operations in northern Gaza have continued, with troops and tanks reportedly surrounding Gaza city from multiple directions. Further clashes with Palestinian armed groups have taken place, alongside intense bombardments across the Gaza Strip, including in the Middle and southern areas.
  • Between 2 November (noon) and 3 November (14:00), 196 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, bringing the reported fatality toll since the start of the hostilities to 9,257, including 3,826 children, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza.
  • On 2 November, seven Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza, bringing the total number of soldiers killed since the start of ground operations to 24.
  • See the latest snapshot for more breakdowns

Access and movement (Gaza Strip)

  • For the third consecutive day, on 3 November, the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened for the movement of people, allowing the exit of 300-400 foreign passport holders. The Erez crossing with Israel remains closed.
  • On 3 November, 3,026 Palestinian workers, who had been stranded in Israel and the West Bank since the start of the hostilities, were returned to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Israeli authorities had held them in custody for most of the period, allegedly interrogating and subjecting people to ill treatment.
  • On 3 November, 47 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies crossed from Egypt into Gaza through Rafah Crossing, bringing the total number of trucks that have entered since 21 October to 421. Of these, at least 158 trucks carried food, 102 carried health supplies, 44 carried water or hygiene products, 32 carried non-food items, and eight carried nutrition supplies, alongside other trucks carrying mixed cargo. The entry of fuel, which is desperately needed to operate life-saving equipment, remains banned by the Israeli authorities.
  • The Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel, which prior to the hostilities was the main entry point for goods, remains closed.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

  • Nearly 1.5 million people in Gaza are internally displaced (IDPs). Of them, some 690,000 are sheltering in 149 UNRWA facilities, 122,000 in hospitals, churches, and public buildings, 99,000 in 82 non-UNRWA schools, and the remainder with host families.
  • In recent days, tens of thousands of IDPs, who were previously staying with host families, have relocated into public shelters, seeking food and basic services. This has increased pressure on already overcrowded shelters.
  • Over 530,000 people are sheltering in 92 UNRWA facilities in the Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah areas. Shelters have exceeded their limit and are unable to accommodate new arrivals, and many IDPs are sleeping in the streets close to UNRWA premises seeking safety.
  • An estimated 160,000 IDPs are housed in 57 UNRWA facilities in the north and in Gaza city. UNRWA, however, is no longer able to provide services in those areas and does not have accurate information on their needs and conditions since the Israeli evacuation order on 13 October.
  • See the latest snapshot for more breakdowns

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

  • On the afternoon of 3 November, a convoy of ambulances evacuating patients from Shifa hospital in Gaza city to the Rafah crossing with Egypt, was struck three times in the vicinity of the hospital. Initial reports indicate that at least 13 people were killed and 26 injured. According to the Israeli military, its forces targeted an ambulance used by Hamas personnel. At about the same time, Al Quds hospital in Gaza city and the Indonesian hospital in northern Gaza were hit, reportedly during airstrikes, resulting in a large yet unconfirmed number of casualties.
  • On 3 November, one of the generators in Shifa hospital reportedly stopped working due to lack of fuel. Another generator is still operating, covering about half of the hospital’s needs. Shifa is the largest hospital in Gaza, treating hundreds of patients and hosting tens of thousands of IDPs.
  • Since the start of hostilities, 14 out of 35 hospitals with inpatient capacities have stopped functioning and 51 (71 per cent) of all primary care facilities across Gaza (72) have shut down due to damage or lack of fuel.
  • This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) distributed 80 pallets of supplies, including surgical equipment, trauma kits, and medicines, to four hospitals in the south and Middle areas of Gaza. This brings the total number of pallets distributed to date by WHO to 205.

Water and sanitation (Gaza Strip)

  • Water supply from Israel to western Khan Younis, which stopped on 30 October due to technical reasons, resumed on 3 November, at 600 cubic metres per hour. Another pipeline from Israel servicing the Middle Area, which was reactivated on 31 October, is also operational.
  • In the northern areas of the Gaza Strip, access to drinking water is uncertain. Water supply from Israel came to a halt on 8 October. Furthermore, following the intensification of Israeli ground operations, most water trucking operations and distribution of bottled water were suspended. Most municipal water wells have reportedly shut down after depleting their fuel reserves.

Food security

  • Food supplies entering from Egypt are primarily distributed to IDPs and host families in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, with only flour being provided to bakeries. At the shop level, the World Food Program (WFP) estimates that current stocks of essential food commodities will be sufficient for about five more days, with retailers facing significant challenges when restocking from wholesalers due to widespread destruction, insecurity, and lack of fuel.
  • Access to bread is increasingly challenging. The only operative mill in Gaza remains unable to grind wheat due to lack of electricity and fuel. Eleven bakeries have been struck and destroyed since 7 October. Only one of the bakeries contracted by WFP, and eight other bakeries in the southern and Middle areas have been intermittently providing bread to shelters, depending on the availability of flour and fuel. People wait long hours in bakeries’ queues, where they are exposed to airstrikes.
  • Distribution of food assistance to IDPs in the northern part of the Gaza Strip was almost completely halted for the past few days, following the intensification of ground operations. Anecdotal information suggests that limited food assistance by local NGOs and community-based organizations continues.
  • In the southern Gaza Strip, humanitarian partners have been assisting through in-kind food distribution and cash-based transfers to individuals and households in UN and other shelters. WFP distributes fresh bread for IDPs in UN shelters, as well as canned food and date bars. UNRWA continued to cooperate with local bakeries and supply them with flour, allowing them to offer bread at half the cost.
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