One of the Egyptian power lines feeding the Gaza Strip resumed operation yesterday after being cut off for about two months, Gaza’s electricity company said.
Muhammad Thabet, head of public relations at the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company, said that the “Gaza 2” electricity line that powers districts in southern Gaza with ten megawatts was back in operation and providing electricity.
Egyptian authorities fixed “Gaza 1” last week, after it had fallen into disrepair for some 50 days, he added.
Now that both power lines resumed operating, Thabet said he expected the electricity distribution in the besieged coastal enclave to improve.
Most Palestinians in Gaza are being supplied with only four hours of electricity a day.
The power lines from Egypt can provide up to 28 megawatts, but are often damaged.
The Gaza Strip’s total demand for electricity is approximately 400- 500 megawatts, according to Israeli NGO Gisha.
The desperate lack of electricity has severely impacted Gaza’s hospitals, while sewage treatment facilities have also been forced to close. The unprecedented, dangerous levels of pollution off of Gaza’s coasts has reportedly led to the death of a Palestinian child.
Even prior to the cuts going into effect, 100 million litres of mostly untreated sewage were being pumped from the Gaza Strip into the Mediterranean Sea daily; residents received no more than four hours of electricity at a time, followed by at least twelve hours of blackouts
Gisha wrote in in June.
“Water desalination stations could not operate; sewage could not be pumped away from residential areas; generators were over-extended; entire hospital wings were shut down during blackouts, and people who rely on life-saving equipment were put at risk. Reducing the electricity supply has already led to devastating consequences and greatly exacerbated the situation in Gaza, which was calamitous and unstable even before the current crisis.”
In 2012, the UN warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020 if current trends were not altered. However, a new report released last month by the UN said that “life for the average Palestinian in Gaza is getting more and more wretched,” and that for the majority of Gaza’s residents, the territory may already be unlivable.