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Weather and natural disasters
In addition to humanitarian needs stemming from conflict-related policies, people in the occupied Palestinian territory face difficult weather conditions and emergencies, and may also suffer from natural disasters. In this territory, such contingencies may include storms, floods, frosts, droughts, desertification and earthquakes, among others.
For additional information, please access our Winter Storm Portal, which supports response agencies to report needs and provide prompt response.
The occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is vulnerable to manmade and natural disasters. The most recent overall assessment of risks in the oPt identified the following main risks: natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods, droughts and landslides; and manmade hazards, including conflict escalation, severe stress on natural resources, environmental degradation, and rapid and unregulated urbanization.
In the Gaza Strip, another winter season brings with it the threat of temporary displacement, property losses and health risks due to flooding and poor housing conditions. Insufficient funding, import restrictions, the ongoing energy crisis and the limited capacity of the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD) are key factors that hinder the ability of the relevant actors to reduce vulnerability and respond effectively.
Eight winter-related projects of the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan are underway following the allocation of around $3 million by the oPt Humanitarian Fund (HF) in late November 2016. More than two thirds of the projects are run by national NGOs either directly or in partnership with UN agencies/ international NGOs. The projects target more than 181,000 Palestinians who are at risk of displacement and/or face safety hazards due to winter weather conditions, particularly flooding and storms. Six projects are in the Gaza Strip and two in the West Bank.
As the rainy season approaches, thousands of families in the Gaza Strip will once again be at risk of temporary displacement and the destruction of assets due to flooding. The winter weather conditions are expected to exacerbate the already fragile living conditions and livelihoods of large segments of the Palestinian population. The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster and its partners have identified flood risk areas throughout the Gaza Strip, potentially affecting nearly 500,000 people, as well as 64 schools and 10 health centres.
In Gaza, some 60,000 people remain internally displaced after losing their homes in the 2014 escalation of hostilities. A minority of them continue to live in vulnerable housing conditions. The Shelter Cluster has identified some 900 families (approximately 4,500 people) living in caravans in temporary displacement sites who are particularly exposed to the extreme weather conditions, a concern ahead of the approaching winter.
In advance of the upcoming winter season, and for the third consecutive year, OCHA upgraded and relaunched the West Bank Winter Storm online system in December 2015. This was accomplished in close coordination with various governorates of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD), and with the participation of humanitarian NGOs and UN agencies.