Gaza in crisis as power shortages bite

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Power cuts in Gaza have affected hospitals, homes, factories and water treatment plants. Photo: World Bank/Natalia Cieslik

Two million people in Gaza are suffering a man-made humanitarian crisis caused by power shortages, UN rights experts warned on Wednesday.

Hospitals are reportedly in a "precarious" condition and water shortages are growing, the seven Special Rapporteurs indicated in a statement.

They attribute responsibility for the crisis to Israel, which controls access to Gaza, but highlight that a fuel tax dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas had made matters much worse.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Without electricity, how do you keep food cold and cook a meal for your family?

That's the challenge for many of Gaza's two million residents who've seen their power supply dwindle to between four and six hours a day.

The crisis follows a dispute over the payment of fuel taxes between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Professor Michael Lynk is the Special Rapporteur on the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967:

"Gaza is suffering a significant humanitarian crisis with cuts in electricity going to the Strip….Before June and certainly before April this year they were generally only receiving eight hours of electricity a day, you know it should be 24 hours a day, the same as everybody else in the region."

Professor Lynk is one of seven UN rights experts to issue a statement saying that Israel bears "primary responsibility" for the crisis; it has controlled access to the enclave for 10 years.

The power cuts have shut down hospital operating theatres and created a water shortage too.

It's the latest challenge for Gazans whose economy may never recover, the rights experts say – adding that as in any crisis, it's the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer the most.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’14″

 

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