Posted on 22 May 2017

Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator, Robert Piper, on the electricity crisis in Gaza

Gaza has been experiencing a severe electricity crisis since mid-April, when the Gaza Power Plant went silent due to a dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas in Gaza over tax rates for the fuel needed at the plant.

Since mid-April, electricity levels have fluctuated between about 100 and 150 Megawatts. In practical terms, this means that most households and services in Gaza receive electricity from the grid for at most, four hours at a time, followed by a 12 hour power-cut.

Gaza has been chronically deprived of electricity for at least a decade. But we are reaching the end of the fifth week in which a chronic crisis has become acute. These kinds of levels of electricity have a grave impact on the supply of safe drinking water, on the treatment and management of sewerage, on the availability of health services, on businesses, on schools, and much more.

Gaza’s most vulnerable citizens are paying the highest price during this crisis. No household in Gaza is untouched, but the situation of patients on dialysis, disabled persons living in apartment buildings without reliable elevators or water supply and the elderly is especially precarious.

There are indications that the electricity situation will deteriorate further still next week. These new developments will deepen even further the existing crisis.

The Palestinian Authority, Hamas - which has controlled Gaza for a decade - and Israel as the Occupying Power, all have obligations for the welfare of Gaza's residents and must live up to their responsibilities.

I urge all parties to come together to reverse the current trajectory towards another major humanitarian crisis in Gaza.