The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in the Gaza Strip has said that 90 per cent of the remaining factories may have to stop production due to the power shortages. The territory’s only power plant has stopped working for the seventh day in a row due to fuel shortages.
In a published statement, the union said that workshops and factories in the Gaza Strip are currently working at less than 20 per cent of their capacity as a result of the electricity crisis. This, it stressed, has led to huge losses across the economy.
The power crisis also aggravates the situation of workers and increases the unemployment rate. In an earlier statement, the union explained that last year’s Israeli war on the Gaza Strip led to a rise of 70 per cent in the poverty rate amongst workers, with unemployment hitting 60 per cent.
In a related context, the Palestinian NGO Network warned of the seriousness of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip due to the continuation of the power cuts. The network added that the power shortages have seen a number of key sectors shut down, including health, water and sanitation. It called on all Palestinian parties to assume their moral and legal responsibilities in order to stop the deterioration and put pressure on the authorities to provide the strip with its power needs.
At present, the energy authority supplies the Gaza Strip with electricity on the basis of 6 hours on, 12 hours off. It relies on power supplied by Egypt and Israel. In densely populated areas of the coastal enclave, power cuts can last more than 20 hours at a time, say residents.
The Gaza Strip requires about 400 megawatts of electricity a day but only has 212 megawatts available, of which Israel provides 120 and Egypt provides 32 megawatts (especially in Rafah), to combine with the meagre 60 megawatts provided by the only power company in Gaza.