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Entry of fuel into Gaza slightly eases dire electricity shortages in besieged enclave

Jan. 8, 2017 10:25 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 8, 2017 10:25 P.M.)
(File)
GAZA (Ma’an) -- The Gaza Strip’s energy authority said in a statement on Sunday that it had been able to reoperate a second generator in the besieged coastal enclave’s only power plant, after Israeli authorities allowed the entrance of fuel through the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing.

The energy authority said that the second generator had been shut down on Friday due to a shortage of fuel, further worsening the already dire electricity situation in the small Palestinian territory.

Residents of the Gaza Strip had to contend with only three hours of electricity in between 12-hour cuts over the weekend amid cold winter temperatures.

The power cuts create dangerous environments for Palestinians attempting to keep warm in the winter or needing light during the night. On Monday night, a father and his two daughters were injured after a fire broke out in their home in Gaza City, which was caused by a candle the daughters lit during a power cut so that they could do their homework.

In May, three small children died in a house fire caused by candles the family used during a power cut.

The besieged Gaza Strip has been suffering for years from a serious power crisis, which intensifies in the winter when families have to make do with only a few hours of power a day.

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, as the usual electricity schedule alternates eight hours of power followed by eight hours without.

The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel's crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

The enclave's severe electricity shortages over the years have exacerbated the already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.

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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