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Rapid Food Security Assessment
On 14 November 2012 the Israeli Air Force (IAF) launched an airstrike that targeted and killed the acting chief of Hamas’ military wing and one of his associates. This incident was followed by an escalation in violence ending on the 21 November with a declaration of a cease fire after 8-days.
In the aftermath of the conflict, the Food Security Sector (formerly Agriculture, food and Cash for Work sectors) embarked on a rapid qualitative assessment to determine the impact of the conflict on the population’s food security status by analyzing food production, availability, accessibility and access stability during and in the aftermath of the conflict. The field assessment team conducted 58 key informant interviews, 7 focus group discussions with cooperatives and associations and 30 focus group discussions of different livelihood groups with special attention given to women (an additional 6 focus groups).
The main findings of the assessment in terms of food access and availability were as follows:
- The assessment found that Gazan households remain highly food insecure but this status was not appreciably exacerbated by the conflict. In terms of food access, the price and demand for bread did not fluctuate significantly during the conflict. The price of bread remained stable before, during and after the conflict and price controls are in place by local authorities.
- While slight shortages of certain fresh foods (some vegetables, dairy products, eggs) were experienced during the conflict, supplies of food commodities have returned to pre-conflict levels, with no shortages reported and no difficulties to procure the commodities from wholesalers.
The Ministry of Agriculture estimated the total direct and indirect losses of all sub-sectors at US$ 20.6 million. The hardest hit sub-sector was crop production which sustained US$ 16.6 million in direct and indirect losses. The livestock sector sustained US$ 2.2 million in damages, fisheries US$ 590,000 and water infrastructure for agriculture US$ 1.2 million. The qualitative assessment, designed to complement the MoA damage assessment found the following.
- Credit ceilings from suppliers have decrease or completely halted as farmers lost all or partial income for the season.
- The resilience of farmers has deteriorated as frequent losses of assets incurred since Operation Cast Lead has exhausted their ability to cope with crisis.
- The 8-day war prevented farmers and wage workers from feeding their livestock or tending to their lands resulting in either livestock losses, emaciation or spoiling of over ripe crops.
- For livestock farmers assistance is needed to prevent further losses due to winter conditions. For crop farmers, re-planting of crops must happen immediately to maintain their income for the current season.