Gaza to install China-funded solar panels at children's hospital amid power outages
A Palestinian charity signed a deal with the Gaza health ministry for the supply and installation of China-funded solar energy panels for a school in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Give Palestine Association, along with the enclave's health ministry, collaborated with China to install energy panels at Gaza City's Al-Durra Children's Hospital.
"This project will provide 90 percent of the hospital's electricity in all its departments, with a capacity of 30 megawatts," said Maamoun Abu Shahla, chairman of the charity Give Palestine Association.
He told Chinese news agency Xinhua that this is the fifth Beijing-funded project aimed at supplying solar energy for Gaza which is suffering from continued electricity shortages.
The solar energy panels "are scheduled to begin operation in the next five months", Abu Shahla explained.
Abdul Latif Al-Haj, director in charge of hospital affairs at the Gaza health ministry, said that the important project will compensate for the power shortages that could affect the recovery of ill children, especially those in the intensive care units.
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In 2006, Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on the strip, effectively turning the coastal enclave into an open-air prison, where basic necessities such as food, fuel and medicines are severely controlled.
Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, scarring the besieged enclave.
Critics say the blockade, along with periodic bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of the coastal enclave's 2 million residents.
In 2014, the UN - along with four other human rights organisations - predicted that Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020.
Nearly 70 percent of Gaza's population is food insecure and around 80 percent of Palestinians in the beseiged enclave are reliant on international aid, according to the United Nations.
In addition to damaging crops, Israel routinely blocks food deliveries from reaching Gaza, along with restricting Palestinians from fishing within their own maritime territory.