Qatar emir pledges urgent fuel aid to Gaza

Gaza PM Ismail Haniyeh announced that Qatar has pledged to help Gaza through its fuel crisis.

Qatar emir pledges urgent fuel aid to Gaza

World Bulletin / News Desk

Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had pledged to send a container ship loaded with enough fuel to operate Gaza's sole power plant for a five-month period.

"The Qatari emir has promised that a shipload of fuel would arrive in Israel's Ashdod Port on Tuesday, which would be sufficient to operate Gaza's power plant for five months," Haniyeh told reporters while visiting homes affected by recent flooding in Gaza's town of Deir al-Balah.

"The Qatari emir has also donated $5 million for Gazans affected by the recent cold snap," the prime minister added, citing a phone conversation he had with al-Thani earlier the same day.

According to Haniyeh, the Qatari emir has also sent $10 million to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority to pay disputed taxes on fuel exports to the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh went on to note that the fuel supply to Gaza's power plant would resume on Saturday following a weeklong hiatus due to the recent tax row.

Gaza's only power plant stopped working several weeks ago after consuming the last drop of fuel, rendering the local energy authority incapable of providing electricity for more than six hours a day.

Freezing temperatures currently sweeping through Gaza have further exposed the vulnerabilities of the strip's residents, who have also suffered an acute fuel shortage for the last two months.

A choking Israeli blockade on the strip, coupled with measures taken by the Egyptian army to stop the smuggling of Egyptian fuel into Gaza, have added to the hapless territory's woes.

The impoverished Palestinian coastal enclave – home to almost 2 million people – has suffered an acute electricity crisis since Israeli warplanes bombed its main power station in 2006.

The plant requires some 650,000 liters of diesel fuel for its daily operations.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Aralık 2013, 10:16