Sunday, June 27, 2010

Power plant runs out of fuel, Gaza in the dark 12 hours a day

An emergency electricity program was implemented throughout the Gaza Strip on Saturday, after officials announced that the sole power station shut down a day earlier due to a massive fuel shortage. Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCo) said the remaining 137 megawatts the station could produce with its limited fuel reserves would be distributed across districts for six hours on Sunday, followed by 12 hours without electricity. "This will be repeated again and again until any major changes to the amount of available energy," a statement from GEDCo read.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza released a statement Sunday afternoon, saying the power cuts "seriously impacted basic services provided to 1.7 million Palestinians, including drinking water and health and sanitation services." The cuts also caused "extreme suffering to at least 36,860 students who have been attending final exams of the Genera Certificate of Education (Tawjihi) since 12 June 2010."
The problems with the fuel delivery is not new. Shortages have occurred more times. The problems  started in February, one month after the European Union at the request of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah stopped paying the fuel bill for Gaza. Since then Ramallah reproaching the Gaza authorities that they don't pay enough, while Gaza tells Ramallah that they pay all the revenues after deduction of some necessary costs  to Ramallah. At least part f the problem seems to be that unemployment in Gaza reaches levels of 80% and that people simply don't have the money to pay the electricity bills. 

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