Fuel companies in the Gaza Strip have confirmed that most of the cooking gas filling stations in the territory have closed because of the significant reduction in gas being pumped through by Israel. Those stations still open are now using their reserves, which are likely to run out in two or three days.
The Israeli occupation authorities usually allow around 120 tonnes of cooking gas through daily, but they have reduced the amount significantly. Israel is fully aware that the gas sector in Gaza needs a daily amount of at least 300 tonnes of gas to function normally.
There has been an accumulation of empty gas cylinders across the Strip as efforts are made to increase the quantities of gas available. At present, gas is transferred via the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to the Gaza Strip, but its inefficient infrastructure means that it cannot meet the needs of the local population.
The shortage is beginning to affect large numbers of Palestinians and the risk of a new humanitarian crisis is great. Farms, bakeries, various institutions and industries as well as the general public require gas for everyday use, including cooking, and continued gas shortages will cause severe problems if this is not resolved soon. Once again, Palestinians are in need of the urgent intervention of the international community to call on the Israelis to allow them to live their lives at a basic minimum standard as required under international law.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad