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Damaged power lines and generator strain electricity supply in Gaza

Nov. 17, 2016 12:22 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2016 4:58 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- Several Egyptian power lines and a power generator in the southern Gaza Strip were damaged on Thursday, causing further strain on the besieged Palestinian enclave’s tenuous electricity supply.

A spokesperson for Gaza’s electricity company said that a generator had been damaged in Gaza’s sole power plant, leaving only one generator working.

The spokesperson added that several Egyptian power lines which had recently been repaired had once again been damaged and the electricity supply through these lines would be cut off to conduct repairs, impacting many districts of the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s power authority confirmed on Wednesday its readiness to pay all costs for additional electricity supplies from Israel, and to take full financial responsibility of the management of the blockaded Palestinian territory’s electricity sector in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority.

The power authority added that increasing the power supply to the Gaza supply was vital to ensure the proper functioning of basic services, particularly for foreign-funded projects.

The authority notably mentioned a World Bank-funded project to repair the sewage system in northern Gaza which has been on hold for two years, a German-funded project to repair the central Gaza sewage station, and a UNICEF water desalination project, which have all been delayed due to insufficient electricity access.

It added that Gaza’s electricity needs had only become greater in the past ten years due to heavy Israeli taxation on fuel needed for the power plant and Israeli limitations on the amount of fuel allowed into the Gaza Strip.

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 and only provide energy to Gaza’s inhabitants for eight hours each day.

The Israeli blockade has also impeded the capacity to repair Gaza’s damaged infrastructure in the wake of a devastating Israeli offensive in 2014.

The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, as the enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages over the years, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory, leading the UN in 2015 to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.
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