Oxfam has described the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip as an illegal punitive measure against an entire nation and stressed the need to end the crisis.
The organisation said in a press release on Sunday: “It has been four months now since the beginning of the electricity, fuel, health care and salaries crisis in Gaza, and the people of the Gaza Strip are sinking into another real disaster”, adding:
the impact of this crisis on people’s access to basic services, such as water and sanitation, is worse than during the 2014 Gaza war.
“The electricity crisis in Gaza is an illegal punitive measure against an entire nation and it must be ended immediately,” said Chris Ejikmanz, director of the organisation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
He added that the Palestinian Authority and Israel have to assume responsibility for the situation of Palestinians in Gaza, calling them not use people as a bargaining tool exploited by various parties.
Ejikmanz stressed that Palestinians in Gaza are currently suffering from numerious violations of their rights as a result of the blockade and demanded the urgently return of fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip.
He also stressed the need to “end this crisis now and to provide relief to the already trapped people who are now exposed to the risks of disease, especially with the scarcity of health care services in the absence of electricity.”
Ejikmanz explained that all the sewage treatment plants in Gaza no longer work, while 50 per cent of these stations have not been operative since the war on the Gaza Strip in 2014.
He clarified that in August 2014, 900,000 people were not able to access the necessary water and sanitation services, and today the number has increased to two millions.
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Ejikmanz insisted that the residents of the Gaza Strip now have only two hours of electricity per day, while after the last war 80 per cent of the population used to have four hours of electricity a day:
Since Israel’s bombing of the only power plant in Gaza in 2006, electricity supply has been very low, with homes and businesses having only eight hours of electricity a day
He pointed out that the land, sea and air blockade, which reached its 11th year today, has exacerbated the problem. He clarified also that Israel’s decision to reduce the electricity supply to Gaza by 40 per cent, at the request of the Palestinian National Authority, resulted in the escalation of this problem and reduced supplies to about two hours of electricity per day.
“Even without rockets and bombs, Palestinians in Gaza already face a humanitarian crisis, but it is shameful to allow this crisis to worsen, and to squeeze two million people who are already suffocated by an illegal blockade,” Oxfam director said.
He explained that all the projects of his organisation in the sector have been affected by the power cuts.