WFP Palestine Country Brief, June 2016 – WFP update


• Lack of funding will force WFP to significantly reduce food assistance by 50-70 percent, affecting 89,000 people, three-quarters of whom are women and children.

• In June, WFP assisted more than 481,500 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.

• WFP continues upgrading its emergency preparedness response in coordination with other UN partners.

WFP Assistance

Resources permitting, WFP's Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 200709 aims to assist 496,000 non-refugees in Palestine, 249,000 in Gaza and 247,000 in the West Bank, predominantly through food distributions and Cash Based Transfers (CBT) using 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. WFP invested more than USD 200 million in the Palestinian economy, including USD 125 million through CBTs, between 2011 and 2016.

CBTs serve as a multi-sectoral platform for partnerships and service provision, used by other humanitarian and development actors to deliver their own or complementary assistance with WFP's One Card. UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is using WFP's platform to provide cash ATM assistance to reach 47,000 refugees in the West Bank. During the 2014 Gaza conflict, WFP and OXFAM reached 300,000 people in two weeks with this innovative, flexible and rapidly scalable type of assistance. During and after the conflict, WFP and UNICEF provided conflict-affected people food, hygiene and sanitation items, water and school uniforms in One Card. WFP's vouchers have been used by Global Communities, HelpAge, Medecins du Monde and the Ministry of Social Development.

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 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 strategy in Palestine is aligned with the National Development Plan, the Ministry of Social Development's Business Plan and the Social Protection Sector Strategic Plan. WFP's interventions are integrated in the 2014­2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the 2016 Response Plan, and support Sustainable Development Goals 1: No Poverty, 2: Zero Hunger, 3: Good Health and Well-Being, 4: Quality Education, 5: Gender Equality and 8: Decent work and Economic Growth.

Operational Updates

• In June, WFP assisted 481,627 food insecure people in Gaza and 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 people assisted in Area C are vulnerable Bedouins and herders who are facing imminent forced transfer.

• As part of a new groundbreaking partnership, UNRWA successfully distributed unrestricted cash assistance to 36,000 refugees in the West Bank using WFP's CBT platform from April-June 2016. WFP's One Card can be used to withdraw cash at ATMs and pay for goods in a network of retail stores. The next distributions will take place in July, covering three months.

• WFP continues upgrading its emergency preparedness measures. In June, WFP and UNRWA conducted a simulation of an emergency in Gaza to refresh their joint internal Standard Implementation Procedures and ensure an effective joint emergency food assistance to IDPs at UNRWA shelters. WFP is supporting inter­agency 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 allow alignment with the Palestinian Policy Agenda and Sectoral strategies (2017-2022), and with UNDAF that will start 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.


• WFP Palestine urgently needs 14.7m to continue providing assistance until December, including USD 7 million for its core assistance activities – the food distributions and cash-based transfers.

• WFP needs immediate resources, otherwise, it will be forced to significantly reduce its in-kind food distributions, coordinated with Ministry of Social Development in Gaza, during the third and the fourth quarters of 2016. This will impact the food security of approximately 89,000 of the poorest people of Gaza. In addition, there could be pressure to cease WFP's food assistance programmes run with NG0s, impacting an additional 160,000 people in Gaza.

• WFP is grateful for the unwavering support of its longstanding partners. 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.

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 (UNICEF) 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.


U.S.A, Canada, Japan, ECHO, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Spain, OCHA and multilateral donors.

Contact info: Yasmine Abuelassal (yasmin.abuelassal©
Country Director:
 Daniela Owen

Further information:

Document symbol: WFPBrief_260616
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: 26/07/2016

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