Palestinian officials warn of fatal threats of power crisis in Gaza hospitals to patients

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-16 22:31:11|Editor: yan
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GAZA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian Health Ministry officials in Gaza warned on Wednesday that a growing power crisis, due to a severe shortage of fuel at Gaza Strip's hospitals, threatens the lives of hundreds of patients.

"The fuel crisis is threatening 800 patients in dialysis departments, 120 preterm infants in the nursery and 100 patients in intensive care unit in the hospitals of the Gaza Strip," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra told a news conference in Gaza.

He added that the ministry has taken austerity measures to save the remaining fuel, which has reached a critical stage that may be unable to generate power for providing health service at any time.

He also said the ministry needs 300,000 liters of fuel per day to run 13 hospitals and 53 primary care centers in the coastal enclave.

Al-Qedra pointed out that the ministry continues to work and move in all directions and with various stakeholders to stop the crisis from interrupting health services.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territories, since 2013, the UN has been providing emergency fuel to operate standby generators in nearly 250 vital facilities, water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip.

An OCHA statement issued last October said that the UN provided the last of its own fuel reserves in September which is worth one million dollars, calling for at least two million dollars to cover the operation of basic services until the end of 2018.

The Gaza Strip suffers from a deficit in its electricity needs, especially in winter, forcing the electricity distribution company to rely on a schedule based on eight hours of electricity every day.

Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to nearly two million people since mid-2007 after Hamas movement's takeover of the enclave by force following rounds of internal fighting with forces loyal to the Palestinian Authority.