2021 – Emergency food security assessment in Gaza following escalation of hostilities and unrest in the State of Palestine in May 2021 – Occupied Palestinian Territory
Between May 10 and May 21, 2021, hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza escalated, with destructive air, land and sea strikes targeting government buildings, homes and public service facilities across Gaza. The humanitarian consequences of the conflict have been devastating, exacerbating the already present impact of restrictions on the movement of people, reduced access to resources and basic social services, and the economic stagnation caused by the blockade. Poverty and unemployment, the main drivers of food insecurity in Palestine, are at their peak: in Gaza, nearly seven in ten people are poor, half of the workforce is unemployed, and seven out of ten households are unemployed. ten are food insecure. Before the May crisis, more than 80% of private sector workers in Gaza earned less than the minimum wage, compared to 7% in the West Bank.
This assessment explores the impact of the escalation on food security in Gaza to inform and assist the planning of food security sector partners. The assessment draws on primary and secondary data, available published reports, and results of focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews.
The results of the assessment highlight the critical economic situation in Gaza prior to the escalation of the conflict, with increasing levels of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity. In early 2020, the Ministry of Social Development assisted some 80,000 families in Gaza through social protection programs. During the pandemic, 35,000 more families affected by COVID-19 have been identified for assistance in Gaza. During the 11 days of conflict in May 2021, the number rose again with 96,000 conflict-affected people receiving food assistance in the form of WFP vouchers. The evaluation recommends continued support and implementation of the national cash transfer program and complementary social protection and food assistance programs to ensure that vulnerable households can continue to meet their minimum food needs.
The study identified several groups who became vulnerable and suffering from food insecurity as a result of the recent escalation of the conflict, including 2,000 internally displaced families, 20,000 workers who lost their income, many landowners. ‘economic facilities and farming communities. The impact of conflict varies in type and intensity, ranging from short-term to permanent economic consequences and limiting the ability to sustain livelihoods. The evaluation recommends strengthening and expanding assistance programs supporting livelihoods, resilience building and income-generating opportunities for poor and food-insecure households. The evaluation further recommends providing additional assistance to households that were affected by the conflict in May, either through the aforementioned livelihood, resilience building and income generation programs or through an extension of short-term humanitarian aid.
Although the availability of food in local retail markets was not affected during the conflict, market access was a challenge and the prices of agricultural products declined significantly due to restrictions on product exports. This resulted in significant losses for farmers. The availability and prices of agricultural products can still be negatively affected by the closure of trade crossings and import bans of agricultural inputs. The study recommends further assessments of the agricultural sector, concerted advocacy for the movement of goods and support to farming communities in the rehabilitation of productive assets that could help maintain the food supply in the local market while supporting the means. support for some 50,000 farming families.