A view shows Gaza's power plant through a barbed fence in the central Gaza Strip January 16, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The sole power plant in the Gaza Strip will resume its operation, the Hamas-controlled Energy Authority in Gaza announced on Thursday, a day after the power plant was shut down.
The Energy Authority in Gaza said the expected resumption of the power plant’s operation comes after Egypt facilitated the delivery of new fuel shipments to the Strip on Thursday.
“The flow of electricity will gradually improve,” the authority said in a statement on its website.
Since late June, Egypt has sent millions of liters of cheap diesel fuel to Gaza, partially alleviating an ongoing electricity crisis there. But for unclear reasons, Egypt stopped shipping fuel to the Strip last week.
Gaza Electric Distribution Company spokesman Muhammad Thabet said the power plant was shut down late Wednesday evening, leaving Gaza with increased power outages all day Thursday.
“This is not a sustainable situation,” Thabet told The Jerusalem Post
in a phone interview earlier on Thursday.
Gaza power crisis
The arrival of the Egyptian fuel will provide much needed relief to Gazans, but will only serve as a temporary band-aid. When the power plant resumes its activity, it is expected that Gaza will receive approximately five hours of electricity per day.
The Strip’s demand for electricity is approximately 450 to 500 megawatts per day in the summer, but its energy infrastructure has the maximum capacity of providing some 230 MW.
Over the past several months, Gaza has been left with much less than 230 MW.
Both technical difficulties and internal strife between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have accounted for the decline in electricity supply.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas asked Israel to reduce the amount of electricity it supplies to Gaza in April in order to pressure Hamas into conceding control of Gaza.
Israel responded affirmatively to Abbas’s request and decreased the amount of electricity it delivers to Gaza from 120 MW to some 70 MW.
The PA president has defended the move, saying it was targeted at ending the split between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PA has not controlled Gaza since Hamas took it over in a violent coup d’etat in 2007.
“We seek to unify our land and our people, and any measures we take are in fact aimed at ending this division, which has harmed our national cause,” Abbas told a Japanese newspaper in early June.
Majd al-Waheidi, a resident of Gaza City, said the constant power outages in Gaza make her feel “paralyzed and hopeless.”
“I can’t read, work, or even communicate normally. The electricity schedule is never stable,” Waheidi wrote in a text message.
“But maybe I’m lucky, because I’m not married and I don’t have kids. Children nowadays know about the electricity crisis because they are born into it. Families suffer. A man told me today that he makes his kids sleep on the floor – because the floor is cold. He also said that the current situation is worse than the last war because the situation just gets worse.”