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Egyptian electricity lines to Gaza repaired after severe cuts

June 10, 2016 3:55 P.M. (Updated: June 10, 2016 6:38 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two Egyptian power lines connected to the besieged Gaza Strip have been repaired and are currently operational, Gaza’s electricity company announced Friday.

The company said in a statement that both power lines which had been out of order since the beginning of June were now functioning properly.

The Egyptian electricity lines feed power to the Rafah and Khan Yunis districts of the southern Gaza Strip with 22 megawatts of power.

The besieged enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.

From the start of May, the Gaza Strip was only provided power for six-hour intervals followed by 12 hours without power for two weeks, due to problems with the Egyptian power lines.

Gaza’s electricity company announced mid-May that the besieged enclave would gradually return to the usual electricity schedule of eight-hour intervals followed by eight hours without power.

However, at the start of June, the Egyptian power lines were knocked out completely, causing electricity blackouts in the southern region.

Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza's sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs. The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel's crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

Gaza's electricity crisis made headlines last month when three small children died in a house fire caused by candles that the family used during a power cut.

War has also taken its toll, and during Israel's 50-day offensive on Gaza in 2014, the power plant was targeted, completely knocking it out of commission.

The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel's blockade.

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