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Energy crisis leaves Gaza with barely four hours of power a day

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 01:21

Gazans have been getting less than half their usual electricity supply - barely a few hours a day - with no sign of the shortages ending anytime soon. Saskia O'Donoghue reports.

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Gathering round for heat and light. People living in Gaza are having to get by burning scraps of wood. For weeks Gazans have been making do with barely a few hours a day of electricity. And there's no sign of the power coming back on anytime soon. The cause of the shortage is complicated and regional politics makes it hard to solve. Some citizens blame Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, While Hamas blames the rival Palestinian Authority, based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Others point the finger at Israel. The simple explanation is that Gaza is only receiving about a third of the power it needs. Some is produced by its aging power plant, some is imported from Egypt and Israel supplies the rest. The local plant - damaged by Israeli bombing during a war in 2006 - doesn't have enough money to buy fuel to boost output. The power company has unpaid consumer bills of around 1 billion dollars and is not in a position to seek more credit. Normally, power alternates on eight-hour cycles, with generators providing electricity to those that can afford it in the down times. But since late last year, there have been only three or four hours of electricity a day. Gaza's population of two million is growing increasingly angry.

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Energy crisis leaves Gaza with barely four hours of power a day

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 01:21