The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | November 2019

39 low-lying areas in the Gaza Strip at risk of flooding in winter. Demolitions, new settlement outpost and land confiscation put further pressure on Bethlehem farmers. New report reveals high levels of gender-based violence, especially in the Gaza Strip.

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Preliminary findings of a survey carried out by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in the second quarter of 2019, reveal that 29 per cent of Palestinian women in the oPt, or nearly one in three, has reported psychological, physical, sexual, social or economic violence by their husbands at least once during the preceding 12 months.

Muslih A’ta Wafi lives with his wife and seven children on the ground floor of a threestorey house in one of the lowest points of Khan Younis city. “In preparation for the 2018 winter season, we added another layer to the floor to raise it and prevent flooding,” said Muslih. “Unfortunately, this only prevented light rain from flooding the house, but whenever it rained heavily, our home flooded with a mix of sewage and rainwater. Last year, we lost most of our furniture.”

Basheer Sous, President of the Beit Jala Farmers’ Society, owns several plots of land in the Al Makhrour area of Beit Jala in Bethlehem governorate, which he shares with his brothers. Al Makhrour extends for approximately 3,000 dunums and in addition to Beit Jala, includes land which the villages of Al Walaja, Batir, Husan, Wadi Fukin and Nahalin have traditionally used. The apricot, olive, fig and almond trees in Al Makhrour, irrigated by natural springs, are an important source of livelihood for farmers from these communities.

With the onset of winter, an estimated 235,000 people, living in low-lying areas in the Gaza Strip lacking adequate infrastructure, are at risk of flooding, due to the possible overflow of stormwater facilities and sewage pumping stations. Initial reports indicate that approximately 2,000 homes have already been flooded,following heavy rains recorded on 8 and 9 December 2019. As the first article in this month’s Humanitarian Bulletin explains, this is due to the lack of maintenance and repair of these facilities, compounded by a shortage of fuel to operate backup generators. Underfunding drives these deficits: in 2019, less than 74 per cent of the $68 million needed to operate Gaza’s 484 public water and sanitation facilities was secured.

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