Gaza power plant shut down. Electricity supply plunges to 70 MW

Dark street in Gaza. Photo by Gisha

It’s hard to fathom how, but last night the Gaza electricity crisis got worse. For months now, the lives of two million people have been disrupted, entire hospital wards are shut down, untreated sewage is spilling to the sea in heretofore-unseen quantities and beaches are becoming more dangerous for swimming. Yesterday, Gaza’s sole power plant shut down again for lack of fuel. With electric lines from Egypt down since last week, the only power available to supply homes, businesses, water desalination and purification facilities, agriculture, hospitals and schools is coming from Israel. And this supply was reduced from 120 megawatts to around 70 megawatts, on purpose, three weeks ago. Seventy megawatts is just a sixth of the demand in Gaza, or what would be needed for basic, normal functioning of a 21st century society.

At the moment, Gaza residents receive no more than two to three hours of electricity, followed by 24, count them, 24 hours, without power. Generators, which are running ragged from overuse, cannot compensate but are the only thing keeping Gaza hanging by a thread in the face of a full-on humanitarian disaster.

We recall again that the energy crisis in Gaza is not the result of a natural disaster. It is entirely man-made, a result of cynical political decisions. The Palestinian Authority, Gaza’s de-facto government run by Hamas, Egypt and Israel must end the political games they’re playing at the expense of Gaza’s residents. They must restore maximum power supply and take action toward medium and long-term solutions to meet demand. We stress once more that Israel, given its ongoing control over the Gaza Strip, has a responsibility to enable normal life in Gaza.

Over the last few weeks, there have been several initiatives put forward by civil society organizations and ordinary citizens in Israel and Palestine to raise awareness about the situation and call on decision-makers to reverse actions which have led to the reduction in electricity supply. We share some of these here to remind ourselves that there are still some pockets of sanity left out there.

Petition to Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman: Light in Gaza

One Hour: Turning off the AC for an hour, everyday at 1:00 PM

Light in Gaza: Protest near Gaza border on Friday

Website dedicated to monitoring the Gaza blackout

A coalition of 16 organizations, led by Gisha, called on Israel’s attorney general to advise the security cabinet to rescind its decision to reduce electricity supply to Gaza

Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC)

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

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