Palestinians use solar power due to Israeli blockade

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Palestinians have turned to solar power as the Israeli-besieged Gaza strip is grappling with severe fuel shortage that causes power cuts.

“We were forced to consider relying on solar power alone after the energy crisis that events in Egypt brought about,” AFP quoted Nabil al-Burqani, the director of Gaza City’s children’s hospital, as saying on Wednesday.

In recent months, fuel and electricity shortages in Gaza have worsened as the Egyptian military has blocked supply tunnels leading into the besieged area. The tunnels were the only lifeline for Palestinians living under the Israeli siege.

“We need solar energy in order to keep up care for babies in the maternity ward,” said Burqani, adding, “If there’s just a minute-long cut to the electricity that runs the baby incubators, a child could die.”

The humanitarian crisis facing Gaza has escalated as the only power plant in the Palestinian territory has stopped working since November 1, 2013 due to severe fuel shortage.

Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since 2007, a situation that has made the Palestinians desperately dependent on goods coming through the tunnels.

The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), which represents more than 130 Palestinian civil society organizations, has called on the international community to end the continuous Israeli siege.

The blockaded silver is now experiencing daily power outages of up to 16 hours. Hospitals, homes, water and sanitation plants as well as businesses have also been affected by the serious energy shortage.

The power cut has caused the failure of sewerage and water plants. It has also put the lives of many hospitalized patients in danger.

According to the UN, all 291 water and wastewater facilities in the Gaza Strip are now relying on standby generators, which are also affected by the fuel shortages.

Prominent political thinker Noam Chomsky has described the Gaza Strip as “the world’s largest open air prison.”

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