‘Grave consequences’ if Gaza fuel crisis continues

GAZA CITY/PNN/

The Israeli Occupation Authority’s refusal to deny immediate entry of UN-purchased emergency fuel into the Gaza Strip will have grave consequences for the health of over 2 million Palestinians, according to OCHO Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Territories Jamie McGoldrick.

The fuel is required to power back-up generators needed to overcome Gaza’s severe energy crisis.

Approximately 60,000 liters of emergency fuel needs to be delivered to 46 facilities across Gaza in order to ensure the basic functioning of main hospitals and essential water and sanitation services for the coming four days.

“Restricting the entry of emergency fuel to Gaza is a dangerous practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza,” said Mr. McGoldrick.

“The well-being of two million people, half of whom are children, is at stake. It is unacceptable that Palestinians in Gaza are repeatedly deprived of the most basic elements of a dignified life.”

Since Aug 2, Israeli Occupation Authorities have denied entry of fuel into the Gaza Strip, following an earlier restriction on entry during the period of July 16 and July 24.

Over 60 per cent of the emergency fuel is consumed by 54 health facilities. If the Israeli occupation authority denies access to the emergency fuel, five hospitals face closure within days. Medical services for Palestinians will suffer greatly, with the highest risk posed to more than 2,000 patients in Gaza’s hospitals who rely on electricity for their treatment.

In approximately one-third of the 132 water and sanitation facilities, fuel stocks are currently enough for only one or two days, and Palestinians face the possibility of  sewage overflow around the 41 main sewage pumping stations in the Gaza Strip.

Sewage treatment at Gaza city’s waste-water treatment plants have reduced operations and solid waste collection. With 15,000 tons of garbage accumulating in the streets, along with the reduced functioning of water and sanitation facilities, there is a significant risk of  waterborne disease.

“Israel must reverse the recent restrictions, including on the entry of emergency fuel, and donors must step in and fund emergency fuel, in order to avoid a disease outbreak or other major public health concern,” McGoldrick concluded.

The Israeli Occupation authority’s latest actions have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis caused by 11 years of Israeli blockade. At present, the nearly two million Palestinian residents of Gaza, over half of whom are children, receive electricity for no more than four hours each day.