Gaza's power crisis worsens as diesel supplies run dry

Gaza's power crisis worsens as diesel supplies run dry
A spokesperson for Gaza's power authority said Egypt had not provided any electricity in a week - with the board running at roughly a seventh of full capacity.
2 min read
13 July, 2017
A tailor in Gaza relying on a solitary light-bulb to keep him at work [AFP]

The Gaza Strip's only working power plant shut down again on Thursday, after diesel supplies ran out for the second day running.

The besieged land strip currently imports just 70 megawatts from Israel and its sole power station is running at a seventh of full capacity.

"All Egyptian power lines have been completely down for more than a week," said Muhammed Thabet, spokesperson for the Gaza Electric Distribution Company.

Gaza was operating on 140 megawatts last week - double the amount it is currently importing.

Total full capacity requires 550 megawatts for the entirety of Gaza - however, the diesel-run power plant only produces a total of 60 megawatts.

Daily energy consumption always goes up in the summer months due to the excessive heat, sometimes reaching 50 degrees celsius.

The issue of roaming power cuts is adding to the overall "unliveable" living conditions for Palestinians living under Israeli blockade, which UN experts say is illegal.

A recent UN report said Gaza is deteriorating "further and faster" than an earlier prediction made five years ago.

"Across the board we're watching de-development in slow motion," Robert Piper, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the occupied Palestinian territory said.

Egypt and Israel have both cut off diesel and electricity supplies to Gaza, reportedly in an effort to force Hamas to cooperate with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, controlled by President Mahmoud Abbas.

A spokesperson for the PA said earlier this week that the main reason for the "worsening situation" in Gaza was Hamas.

"Hamas rejected the Mahmoud Abbas' initiative to end the split [between Palestinian factions]," said Tarek Rishmawi.