Al Mezan warns of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis looming as Israel continues to ban fuel in Gaza – Occupied Palestinian Territory

The humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip are deteriorating significantly due to the ongoing Israeli military escalation against Gaza since Friday, August 5, 2022, targeting civilians and civilian objects, in particular infrastructure, including distribution networks water and electricity.

The 6-day complete closure of Erez and Karem Abu Salem crossings into Gaza has further aggravated the already fragile conditions in the Strip. The fuel entry ban continues and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) announced on Saturday August 6, 2022 that Gaza’s only power plant would run out of fuel and be completely shut down by noon the same day.

According to GEDCO, Gaza’s electricity needs are 600 megawatts. The Gaza power plant supplies the strip with 60 megawatts, while an additional 120 megawatts comes from Israel. As a result, there is an energy deficit of 480 megawatts, or around 80% of Gaza’s total needs. With the closure of the power plant, Gaza’s total power supply will fall to less than 120 megawatts, given repeated interruptions to power lines and damage to grids from Israeli attacks.

As a result, given the ongoing Israeli military attacks on residential areas in Gaza, damage to electricity distribution networks for homes, health facilities and public facilities, and the continued ban on entry of fuel, the hours of electricity supply will drop to less than four hours of supply followed by 16 hours of outage. This situation portends a further deterioration of humanitarian conditions and threatens to block and disrupt basic services in the Gaza Strip, in particular water, sanitation and medical services. In this context, the people of Gaza are enduring great suffering due to high summer temperatures and their inability to leave their homes under continued military attacks.

Power cuts seriously threaten the work of vital hospital units, especially emergency, intensive care, surgery, as well as dialysis departments, laboratories, incubators and the medical gas system. They will also disrupt the operation of desalination and wastewater treatment plants and the water supply to homes, causing a major health and humanitarian disaster.

The electricity crisis also affects the work of municipalities, as the water supply to households is disrupted and it becomes difficult to supply water with the electricity schedule, thus depriving people of the possibility of filling water tanks, especially in multi-storey buildings. Some municipalities are also unable to operate sewage treatment plants due to lack of alternative energy, so they resort to pumping untreated sewage into the sea, causing marine pollution on the Palestinian coastline, which s stretches for about 40 km.

Al Mezan strongly condemns the latest Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip and is deeply concerned by the total closure of the Gaza crossings imposed by the Israeli authorities, including the fuel ban. All of these measures taken by Israel are part of its collective punishment against more than two million Palestinians in Gaza and are in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law.

Al Mezan calls on the international community, the United Nations and its agencies to take immediate action to ensure access to food and fuel in the Gaza Strip to avert the impending humanitarian catastrophe. Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to pressure Israel to end its continued violations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, lift the closure and blockade, and protect Palestinian civilians and their property respecting international humanitarian law and human rights.

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