WFP Palestine Country Brief – WFP Update (July 2016)


• In July, lack of funding compelled WFP to halve the food entitlements of 89,000 people in Gaza, three-quarters of whom are women and children. Additional donor support in Gaza (USD 4.5 million) and the West Bank (USD 3 million) is urgently sought until the end of the year.

• In July, WFP assisted more than 480,000 food insecure non-refugees in Gaza and the West Bank through cash-based transfers and direct food assistance. Women and children accounted for 70 percent of those reached.

• As part of its preparedness measures, WFP has emergency response plans in place with other UN partners in Gaza.

WFP Assistance

Resources permitting, WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200709 aims to assist 496,000 non-refugees in Palestine, 249,000 people in Gaza and 247,000 people in the West Bank, predominantly through food distributions and Cash Based Transfers (CBT) using electronic vouchers. The PRRO has three main objectives: meeting the food needs of the most vulnerable non-refugee populations; fostering early recovery and enhancing the resilience and coping mechanisms of fragile communities in the face of economic hardship and restricted freedom of movement; and supporting the Palestinian Authority's (PA) national safety net by strengthening the government capacity.

WFP links its social transfers to local production and uses its purchasing power as a leverage to strengthen the food sector development and connect small-scale producers, food processors, retailers and consumers. Since 2011, WFP has invested more than USD 200 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 125 million through CBTs.

In 2009, WFP Palestine was a pioneer in devising the first CBT platform of its kind in the Middle-East. The platform has since been upgraded taking advantage of new technologically-advanced systems and processes to allow for rapid scale-up, real-time payment and monitoring. WFP's innovative CBT platform allows for a flexible, rapidly-scalable and multi-stakeholder humanitarian response at times of crisis, fostering aid complementarity, cost-effectiveness and impact. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WFP and UNICEF successfully scaled-up their assistance to reach and provide food, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) items to more than 300,000 people in less than two weeks. CBTs are also effectively used in recovery contexts: since the war, WFP continued to partner with UNICEF and teamed-up and/or lent its CBT technology to Oxfam, Help Age and Medecins du Monde. In the West Bank, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been using WFP's vouchers to deliver its food assistance to 47,000 refugees since 2015.

Gender mainstreaming and women's empowerment is central to WFP's operations. Food distribution points and partner retailers are easily accessible for women and are located in areas close to households led by women. To strengthen the nutritional impact of its CBTs, WFP together with OXFAM, UNICEF and the local NGO Ard El-Insan runs a nutrition awareness campaign for 2,500 women and 1,000 men receiving CBTs in Gaza. Interactive sessions have been instrumental to strengthen women's role as autonomous decision-makers and promote a common understanding of the importance of healthy eating. The programme is all the more critical as 50 percent of the population suffers from more than one micronutrient deficiency, particularly female adolescents in Gaza where 72 percent are deficient in vitamin D and 64 percent are deficient in vitamin A. Since 2011, 4,850 women and their families have benefitted from the training.

WFP's interventions in Palestine are aligned with the National Development Plan, the Ministry of Social Development's Business Plan and the Social Protection Sector Strategic Plan. They are integrated in the 2014­2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan, directly supporting Sustainable Development Goals 2: Zero Hunger and 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Operational Updates

In July, WFP assisted 481,632 food insecure (244,689 people in Gaza and 236,943 people in the West Bank) with food assistance and CBTs. This included 76,000 vulnerable Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank. More than 30,000 of them are vulnerable Bedouins and herders facing imminent forced transfer.

As part of a new partnership, UNRWA, with the technical support and planning of WFP, was able to start unrestricted cash assistance through a bank debit card to refugees registered in its social safety net programme in the West Bank. The people assisted can now withdraw cash at any ATM or use their bank card in shops to purchase food and non-food items; the amount credited is based on the household size. UNRWA has so far reached 36,000 refugees in the West Bank.

WFP continues upgrading its emergency preparedness measures. WFP and UNRWA have refined their joint internal Standard Implementation Procedures to ensure an effective joint emergency food assistance to IDPs at UNRWA shelters. WFP is supporting inter-agency efforts to set up an Emergency Operations Room in Gaza. With UNICEF, WFP has a Memorandum of Understanding on joint CBTs. WFP continues to build the capacity of the National Disaster Management Agency and the Palestinian Civil Defense (PCD) to prepare and respond to emergencies.

WFP will extend its activities in Palestine until the end of 2017, to align with the Palestinian Policy Agenda and Sectoral strategies (2017-2022), and with UNDAF starting in 2018. This extension is taking into account recommendations of the 2015 Country Portfolio Evaluation, with a focus on scaling up CBTs and nutrition education, prioritizing people with high vulnerability, including households led by women, Palestinians in Gaza and Area C of the West Bank, and supporting the government's social safety nets and strengthening its capacity.


Limited funding is hampering WFP's ability to operate and meet the immediate food needs of a highly-vulnerable population. WFP urgently needs 24.3m to continue providing much needed assistance in Gaza and the West Bank for the next six months.

In Gaza, WFP needs immediate resources of USD 4.5 million to provide a full food basket to 89,000 people assisted in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development during the October-December distribution cycle. Without additional support, their food security will be at risk. In addition, there could be pressure to cease WFP's food assistance programmes run with NG0s, impacting an additional 160,000 people.

WFP appeals for further donor support towards its joint project implemented with UNRWA to provide food to Bedouin and herding communities in 85 localities across Area C of the West Bank. The importance of the project goes beyond the food security benefits and contributes to building community resilience and has secondary impacts on livelihoods, access to services and protection.

Country Background & Strategy

Decades of occupation coupled with severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods have undermined the living conditions and reduced access to livelihoods for Palestinians. Food insecurity is mostly due to a lack of economic access: food prices are mainly driven by Israel and out of reach for many poor households – the GDP per capita in Palestine (USD 4,700) is six times less than that of Israel (USD 30,000).

The impact of the 2014 conflict in Gaza continues to be devastating to the Palestinian people and economy. Against this backdrop, more than 27 percent of the population — or 1.6 million people —suffers from food insecurity. In Gaza, one in two is food insecure, and one in three is severely affected. As poor and vulnerable Palestinians spend more than half of their income on food, WFP's assistance is critical to meet their food needs. This prevents further deteriorations in food security and livelihood status, and avoids the use of negative coping mechanisms.

WFP targets 600,000 of the most vulnerable, food insecure non-refugees in Palestine who have been affected by the ongoing conflict and occupation, a fiscal crisis and a steady decline in living standards. PRRO 200709 combines ongoing operations in the West Bank and Gaza to coherently address urgent humanitarian needs in Palestine, while supporting early recovery and sustainable, long term food security for non-refugees.

WFP has been present in Palestine since 1991.


Supporting enhanced food security is a task shared by WFP, the PA and UNRWA with close links to activities of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNICEF and other partners. WFP works closely with governmental, NGOs (Oxfam GB, Global Communities) and UN partners (UNRWA) to successfully deliver food and CBT assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. WFP co-leads, together with UNRWA and FAO, the Food Security Sector which aims to strengthen food security analysis and response, and link humanitarian and developmental interventions for the Palestinian Authority.


WFP is grateful for the unwavering support of its longstanding partners, namely: USA, Canada, Japan, ECHO, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Spain, OCHA and multilateral donors. Additional resources are critical to enable WFP to build on its achievements and prevent a deterioration in the food security and nutrition status of the poorest Palestinian people.

Document symbol: WFPBrief_310716
Download Document Files: [get_file_name file_url=”“]
Document Type: Brief, Newsletter, Report, Update
Document Sources: World Food Programme (WFP)
Subject: Assistance, Food, Humanitarian relief, Poverty
Publication Date: 31/07/2016

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