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Health Ministry: Gaza's fuel shortage puts hospitals at serious risk

Nov. 26, 2016 12:17 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 27, 2016 3:09 P.M.)
GAZA (Ma’an) – The spokesperson of Gaza’s health ministry said in a statement on Friday that the health ministry would face a difficult situation if fuel was not provided to hospitals in the few upcoming hours.

Ashraf al-Qidra called upon all competent authorities to quickly intervene and provide fuel for Gaza’s hospitals, noting that the fuel crisis in Gaza was expected to have severe effects on the besieged enclave’s hospitals.

The plead came two days after health services in a children’s hospital were suspended due to a lack of fuel to its generators.

The Ministry of Health said at the time that the al-Durrah children’s hospital would be out of commission for 27 hours due to the power shortage, adding that other hospitals across Gaza faced similar risks.

It further warned of the terrible consequences of a lack of fuel on the lives of patients dependent on electric and electronic equipment.

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, which limits the amount of fuel allowed into the Palestinian territory, has also impeded the capacity to repair Gaza’s damaged infrastructure in the wake of a devastating Israeli offensive in 2014.

Gaza’s 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.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said on Wednesday that the lack of electricity access was severely impeding infrastructure projects to address the Gaza Strip’s “alarming” access to clean water.
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