Power Crisis Afflicts Gazans
Gaza’s main hospital is on the verge of running out of fuel, doctors have warned, amid a deepening power crisis affecting more than two million people already living under a crippling Israeli blockade.
On Tuesday, the only functioning power plant in the Hamas-governed Palestinian territory shut down after running out of fuel, leaving Gaza residents with only six hours of electricity a day, Aljazeera reported.
Gaza’s electricity company announced the total available power supply was less than a third of the territory’s daily consumption.
Officials at the Al-Shifa hospital on Tuesday said they only have two days of fuel left.
Aljazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from the hospital, described the situation as bleak, especially in the renal dialysis ward where patients with severe kidney problems were being treated.
“These patients require the dialysis machines to work and the machines require electricity,” he said.
“It’s a very, very difficult time for them and patients are quite concerned about the fuel shortage.”
In addition to the hospitals, it is also the houses, emergency services and schools that are affected by the electricity situation.
Protests broke out in January over the power shortages, which the Gaza health ministry said could have “dangerous consequences” for patients in hospitals.
The crisis was resolved by tax-free donations from Qatar and Turkey, which ran out last week.
Following the power crisis, the United Nations has said Gaza could become unlivable by 2020.
Robert Piper, the UN coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said, “Electricity is such a key sector. It affects health, services, hospitals, sanitation, homes and businesses.”
According to a recent report published by the EU-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, t he business sector, already extremely vulnerable, is devastated by four hours of electricity per day, which has a knock-on effect on employment. At least 65% of residents in Gaza live in poverty, 72% are food-insecure and 80% have grown dependent on international aid.
Unemployment in the territory hit an unprecedented 43% in the last quarter of 2016.