Home Occupation 17/February/2021 06:01 PM

Israel's confiscation of tents, bad weather, pandemic compounded vulnerability of Humsa al-Bqaia community - UN

Israel's confiscation of tents, bad weather, pandemic compounded vulnerability of Humsa al-Bqaia community - UN
Israeli demolition of Palestinian-owned structures in Humsa al-Bqaia. (File photo)

JERUSALEM, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 (WAFA) - Yesterday, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), an arm of the military government, confiscated five donor-funded livelihood tents assembled to provide shelter to the Bedouin community of Humsa al-Bqaia, in the northern Jordan Valley, and their livestock. This, along with bad weather and the corona pandemic, has compounded the Palestinian community's vulnerability, said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Over the first weeks of February, the community has had 62 structures demolished in three incidents, leaving 60 people, including 35 children, displaced and placing them now at imminent risk of forcible transfer.

The community’s vulnerability is compounded by expected severe winter conditions and by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said OCHA in an update report on the afflicted Palestinian community.

Humsa al-Bqaia’s main needs are for protection, adequate shelter and shelter for their livestock, it said. Due to the heavy military presence and fear of further confiscation/ interception of aid, other partners have also chosen to deliver assistance in nearby communities, which Humsa al-Bqaia community members can access.

In the occupied territories, and since the start of 2021, the Israeli authorities have demolished, seized or forced people to demolish at least 197 Palestinian- owned structures, including 77 donor-funded, displacing over 280 people, including some 150 children. This represents an over 200 percent increase in structures targeted, and an over 500 percent increase in donor-funded structures targeted, compared to the equivalent period in 2020, said OCHA.

The UN organization said that its humanitarian field team is continuing to assess the needs of the community. However, it added, to prevent further confiscations and place the community at greater risk, the support of the broader international community is critical to ensure the Israeli authorities guarantee humanitarian access to provide assistance to people in need.


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