World Bulletin/News Desk
At least 26 Palestinians have burned to death since 2010 in connection with the Gaza Strip's chronic electricity crisis, according to a report released by a local NGO on Monday.
According to the report by the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, of the 26 deaths, 21 had involved children.
The center warned that the electricity crisis could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in the embattled coastal strip, calling for a "serious investigation" of the problem.
Hundreds of Palestinians on Monday took to the streets of the Gaza Strip to urge rival movements Fatah and Hamas to end their differences and find a solution to the enclave's chronic electricity shortage.
The march, called for by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), saw participants call on the Palestinian unity government to intervene to end frequent power outages, which have recently lasted for as many as 20 hours a day.
The march came two days after two children were killed in a fire caused by a short circuit, which was triggered by the sporadic flow of electricity.
"Hamas and Fatah should find… drastic solutions to the power crisis, which has now entered its eighth year," protester Guevara Abul-Naeim told The Anadolu Agency.
"We don't want the situation to become any worse after two children died due to the electricity problem," he added.
Gaza, which has been blockaded by Israel since 2007, has continued to suffer a chronic electricity shortage.
Since 2012, a rotation system has been used to deliver electricity to homes in the Gaza Strip. Electricity is delivered to certain homes for eight hours at a time before being redirected to other homes for another eight hours.
During Israel's recent offensive on the Gaza Strip, which lasted for 51 days in July and August and left 2,160 Palestinians dead, the strip's sole power plant was damaged after its main fuel tank was struck by Israeli artillery.
Although the plant remains functional, it is prone to frequent breakdowns due to Gaza's chronic fuel shortage.
In January of 2013, six members of a single family in Gaza City were killed in a fire caused by a candle that they had used during an electricity outage.
The Gaza Strip requires 360 megawatts of electricity – of which only 200 megawatts are currently available – to meet the needs of its roughly 1.9 million residents.
Gaza currently has three sources for electricity: Israel, which provides 120 megawatts; Egypt, which supplies 28 megawatts; and Gaza's power plant, which generates between 40 and 60 megawatts every day.
In April, rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas signed a reconciliation deal that led to the formation of a unity government in June.
The government, however, has yet to assume full responsibility for the Gaza Strip.
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