Gaza Faces Blackout as Last Power Plant Grinds to a Halt

Protracted Electricity Crisis has Just Gotten Much Worse

For the last several months, the Gaza Strip has been in a growing electricity crisis, which has left the enclave’s estimated 2 million people, already accustomed to regular blackouts, getting only 3-4 hours a day of electricity. Even that’s going to seem like a fond memory now, as the whole strip is basically without electricity now for the foreseeable future.

That’s because Gaza’s lone power plant, long running at very low capacity, today shut down entirely, as the last of the fuel imported from Egypt has run out, and there’s no word on when, or even if, another shipment of fuel is likely to arrive.

The crisis started in April, when the Palestinian Authority imposed a large tax on diesel fuel for the plant, which slowed the plant down to just one turbine, since the price of fuel basically doubled. That was exacerbated by the fighting in Sinai cutting off power lines from Egypt into Gaza, preventing imports there. Pressure from the Palestinian Authority has also obliged the Israeli power company to greatly reduce power imported to Gaza.

At this point Israel’s minor imports aren’t enough to keep the power running at all, really, and human rights groups had already been warning a humanitarian crisis is growing, That crisis now seems set to explode, likely risking soaring unrest.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.