The besieged Gaza Strip is currently receiving less than half of the electricity it needs, Gaza power authority deputy chief Thafer Melhem said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the official channel Palestine TV, Melhem said that the blockaded enclave was only provided with 200 megawatts of electricity, only 45 percent of the 450 megawatts needed to fully supply power to Gaza.
Melhem said that the severe electricity shortage was not only due to fuel shortages, but also to ongoing tensions with Israeli authorities on a number of issues, notably efforts to improve Gaza’s only power plant.
Energy crisis leaves Gaza with barely four hours of power a day https://t.co/rZ43iGahM2
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 12, 2017
The official added that expansion of power lines coming from both Israel and Egypt could help alleviate the issue, as well as using natural gas instead of diesel to produce electricity.
Meanwhile, the Islamic and National Forces organized a march to denounce the electricity crisis on Wednesday in the southern Gaza Strip. Protesters called on all relevant authorities to find a permanent solution to the protracted issue, which has seriously affected Palestinians suffering under the nearly decade-long Israeli blockade.
Gaza residents have struggled under ever-growing daily power cuts during the cold winter months.
Thousands protest electricity cuts in Gaza Strip, clash with Hamas forces https://t.co/HwUNJUmaQK
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) January 12, 2017
While the entry of fuel into the Gaza Strip on Sunday raised hopes for some relief from the power shortages, the deepening electricity crisis has sparked a number of protests in recent days.
The power cuts create dangerous environments for Palestinians attempting to keep warm in the winter or needing light during the night, with a number of fires breaking out since the beginning of the year.
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.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)