Gaza hospitals in for crisis amid fuel shortage

Around 40 of Gaza's 75 ambulances had stopped working because of the lack of fuel.

Gaza hospitals in for crisis amid fuel shortage

World Bulletin / News Desk

The lack of electrical power and an acute shortage of fuel threatens the lives of patients and injured victims in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian official said early on Friday.

"The hospitals of the Gaza Strip suffer acute shortage of electrical power and this threatens the lives of patients in these hospitals," Bassam al-Hamadeen, the head of the maintenance department at the Palestinian Health Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

He said some of the hospitals of the Palestinian enclave had been depending on electrical power generators only for several days now in the total absence of this electrical power. Al-Hamadeen added that the generators can stop working soon because of the lack of fuel.

"This means that our hospitals are in for a real crisis," al-Hamadeen said, noting that three Gaza hospitals had been operating without electrical power for three days now.

He added that the Abu Youssef al-Naggar Hospital and the European Hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis had also been depending on generators only for a whole week now.

He said the generators are in bad condition and that they can stop working at any time.

Al-Hamadeen added that the generators are close to consuming Gaza's fuel stocks, which means that these generators can stop working soon, which will consequently bring the work of hospital medical equipment to a halt.

He said among hospital sections that would be precariously affected by this would be the intensive care units and operation rooms, not to mention hospital laboratories, ray sections and the emergency sections.

The Health Ministry official said Gaza's hospitals need a minimum of 300 liters of fuel for their operations every day. He added that the hospitals consume almost double this amount of fuel these days because of the arrival of large numbers of injured victims from Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave every now and then.

Door closed

Fuel used to come to the Gaza Strip through the commercial Karam Abu Salem crossing between Gaza and Israel. The crossing has, however, been closed since July 17, which means that fuel stopped to be delivered to Gaza's more than 1.8 million inhabitants since that date.

This fuel shortage has had its toll on rescue services and the work of the Palestinian territory's ambulances, according to al-Hamadeen.

He said around 40 of Gaza's 75 ambulances had stopped working because of the lack of fuel.

Gaza's electricity distribution company, meanwhile, said last Friday that Israel had already stopped supplying the Gaza Strip with electrical power, which raised the electrical power deficit in Gaza to 90 percent.

"The Israeli army gradually suspended electrical power supplies to the Gaza Strip by intentionally targeting electrical power lines," company public relations manager Jamal al-Derdesawi, said.

He added in a statement that Israel had destroyed around 13 electrical power lines across Gaza so far.

Al-Derdesawi said Israel had even turned down a request by his company to repair destroyed lines.

"This means that the Gaza Strip will drown in total darkness soon," al-Derdesawi said.

Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – by air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.

Last week, Israel stepped up its offensive to include ground operations, sending thousands of troops into the embattled coastal enclave.

Israel's offensive has left at least 797 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, since it began more than two weeks ago,.

Israel's ongoing operation "Protective Edge" is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populated Gaza Strip, which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, within the last six years.

In 2008/9, over 1500 Palestinians – the vast majority of them civilians – were killed in Israel's three-week-long operation "Cast Lead."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Temmuz 2014, 10:13