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Official: Lack of fuel and electricity may cause humanitarian catastrophe at Gaza hospitals

A Palestinian Health Ministry official warned that the continued blackouts and acute shortage of fuel in the Gaza Strip are threatening to cause a human catastrophe in Gaza hospitals, the Anadolu news agency reported.

Bassam Hamadeen, the head of the ministry’s maintenance department, said: “The enclave’s hospitals suffer from an acute shortage of fuel and electricity, which threatens the lives of the patients.”

He explained that over the past few days, some hospitals, including Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital and the European Hospital in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, have been forced to depend on generators for power. He warned these generators could stop soon because of the lack of fuel.

“The Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza is working with one electric generator after the backup generator crashed when the Israeli army bombed the hospital a few days ago,” Hamdeen said.

He noted that four hospitals have been without electricity for four days including Beit Hanoun hospital, Mohammed Al-Dura hospital, Kamal Adwan hospital, and Shifa hospital.

“Relying entirely on electric generators has depleted the hospitals’ fuel reserves, which means that these generators could stop working any time soon and consequently stop the hospitals’ medical units including the intensive care units, the operating rooms, the laboratories, X-ray equipment and the emergency units.”

Hamadeen pointed out that “the hospitals need 300 litres of fuel per day on a normal day, but now they consume twice this amount because of the influx of hundreds of injured who arrive at the hospitals on a daily basis as a result of the Israeli war.”

The Israeli forces closed the Karam Abu Salem crossing, the only commercial portal to supply the Strip with fuel from Israel, on July 17 for “security reasons”.

According to Hamdeen “the ministry is now operating only 35 out of its 75 ambulances due to the lack of fuel”.

Gaza’s Electricity Distribution Company said Friday that Israel has stopped supplying the Strip with electricity, raising the electricity deficit to 90 percent.

The company’s director of public relations, Jamal Dardasawi said in a statement “the Israeli army gradually suspended electrical power supplies to the Gaza Strip from Israel and Egypt by intentionally targeting the power lines”, adding that Israel destroyed 13 electrical power lines which supply the Strip with power.

Dardasawi pointed out that the Israeli authorities refused to repair the damaged power lines, threatening that this could drown the Strip into total darkness. He added “the Gaza sole power station suffers from a major crisis, as a result of the Israeli repeated targeting of the power lines”.

The Gaza Strip needs at least 360 megawatts of power to generate electricity and fill the needs of the sector’s 1.8 million people, of which only 200 megawatts is available.

Gaza receives electricity from three sources, the first is Israel which provides the sector with 120 megawatts and the second is Egypt which provides the sector with 28 megawatts, while the strip’s sole plant produces between 40 to 60 megawatts.

At least 797 Palestinians were killed and 5130 others were injured during the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli assault caused the destruction of 1090 housing units and partially damaged 18, 070 housing units, including 994 housing units that have become uninhabitable, according to preliminary information released by the Ministry of Public Works.

Meanwhile, 32 Israeli soldiers and two civilians were killed and 435 others were wounded, the majority of them were civilians.

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