Power Plant Shuts Down in Gaza due to Israeli blockade; Hundreds of lives at risk

January 21, 2008 § Leave a comment

(Image from al-Jazeera. Caption reads: Hundreds of sick Palestinians are threatened with death in hours if the electricity continues to be cut.)

From a Palestinian Centre for Human Rights report:

At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, January 20th, the Gaza Strip power plant ran out of fuel and shut down, plunging the Gaza Strip into darkness. The closure of the Gaza power plant, in addition to Israel’s continuing tightened siege of the Gaza Strip, will have a catastrophic effect on the 1.5 million residents of Gaza, who are already suffering chronic shortages of fuel, medicine and some basic food stuffs . . .


Israel is manufacturing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip that is seriously deteriorating every aspect of civilian life. To date, fourty five patients have died as a direct result of Israeli Occupying Force (IOF) closure and siege of the Gaza Strip. According to the Director of Shiffa Hospital, Dr Hassan Khalaf, patient’s lives continue to be at stake, including the lives of 30 premature babies in Shiffa Hospital, who will die immediately if there is a power cut at the hospital. Gaza’s second major hospital, the European Hospital in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, has now suspended all major surgical operations. Meanwhile, all borders from Gaza to the outside world remain sealed to Palestinians . . .


The Gaza Strip requires 230-250 megawatts of electricity a day to operate at full capacity. On Friday, January 18th, and again on Sunday, January 20th, the IOF prevented a vital daily delivery of fuel from passing through the Nahal Oz Crossing, including industrial diesel used to fuel the power plant. The power plant is now completely closed. This closure of Gaza’s only power plant has drastically reduced electricity output across the Gaza Strip by 65 megawatts. Civilians across Gaza city and the central Gaza Strip are totally dependent on the power plant. The closure of the power plant will severely impact on civilian lives across the Gaza Strip.


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