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United Nations - UN Official: Gaza Could Soon Be Unlivable

Published on: April 16, 2017 04:42 PM
By: Jerusalem Post
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United Nations - Gaza’s latest electricity crisis could be “the tipping point” that makes the Strip unlivable for its 2 million residents, a UN official told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“The UN has been warning for some years that the chronic problems of Gaza are accumulating to the extent that we may be approaching a tipping point at which Gaza becomes unlivable,” said Robert Piper, who is the coordinator for humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Piper spoke after the Gaza power plant shut down on Sunday for lack of money to pay the hefty taxes the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank imposes on the diesel fuel necessary to run the plant.

It is one more blow for the Hamas-controlled enclave of 2 million people where unemployment is at 42% and fresh water is a scarce commodity.

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Gaza will now operate on only four hours of electricity a day, down from eight. The plant had hit a crisis point in December that was averted by tax-free donations from Qatar and Turkey which provided the necessary diesel fuel.

But the funds and fuel have run out, and Fatah has insisted that any additional fuel must be fully taxed.

“There is the political issue of getting Ramallah and Gaza on the same page. There is a lack of trust and transparency about how much revenue is raised and where that revenue ends up,” Piper said.

Demand for power in Gaza is about 450 to 500 megawatts of power per day, but it often gets less than half of that. About 27 MW are imported from Egypt and 125 MW from Israel.

The plant can generate 110 MW when operating at full capacity.

Restoring the normal flow of electricity in Gaza would involve renovation and infrastructure work.

To help fix Gaza’s electricity problem and to make it “dramatically cheaper,” the Gaza power plant could be run on natural gas, Piper said.

The plant would need to be renovated to shift it from a diesel-based operation, Piper said, adding that the project could be done in stages.

As it is, however, damage from the Israeli bombing of the plant in 2014 has yet to be fully repaired.

The Gaza power plant is still waiting for Israel to clear materials necessary to finish the fuel storage units, Piper said.

Israel does not always allow in the necessary “dual use” items for fear that it will be diverted by Hamas for military use.

Piper said that aside from the power plant, Israel could increase the amount of electricity Israel sends to Gaza, but infrastructure would need to be upgraded. The first phase of that project could be done in eight months, he added.

At present, 30 to 40 percent of the electricity is lost in transmission because of poor infrastructure, Piper said.

“You have political and trust problems. You have a funding issue. You have the absolute pivotal question of whether Israel will allow the necessary material to go in, and so on,” he said.

When looking at the larger picture of the Gaza crisis, Piper was clear that the primary cause was the restrictions on the freedom of movement of goods and people through the three crossings into the Strip, which has made a viable economy impossible.

Israel controls two of the crossings, and Egypt is in charge of the third.

Israel has placed restrictions on the Gaza passages since Hamas ousted Fatah from the Strip in a bloody coup in 2007.

On top of that, there is the destruction caused by the three wars between Israel and Hamas that occurred between 2008 and 2014.

At present, Piper said, “half of Gaza’s population is food insecure.” Some 40% of the population can access water only five to eight hours every two to three days, he added.

Some 40,000 people are still displaced from the 2014 Gaza war and are dependent on humanitarian assistance.

In addition, in the last six months, Israel has limited the number of Gaza residents who can leave to seek medical attention.

The mix of all these problems, Piper said, has created a “perfect storm” of events that could make life in Gaza unsustainable.



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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 16, 2017 at 05:29 PM HankM Says:

Give them more money to spend on tunnels

2

 Apr 16, 2017 at 06:11 PM kligermentch Says:

? Who is to take care up the generators that are to be producing the electricity, I would guess the terrorists with all the different names, and also the tunnel builders, perhaps they should take some courses in electrical wiring and prepare all the infrastructure needed to have the proper amount of electricity, if they want to have electricity it is fully in their hands, if they are not interested in having electricity they can live in the dark, i am assuming that they dont give a care, otherwise they would take care of it as needed

3

 Apr 16, 2017 at 06:23 PM Educated Archy Says:

Classic example of fake news . They take an issue twist it out of proportion and only tell a quarter of the story . We only know the simple answer is for Gaza to put down their guns and stop promoting terror . It's the typical kind of alternative facts used at the nyt.

Formerly The real TrumpISprez

4

 Apr 16, 2017 at 06:56 PM hashomer Says:

Reply to #3  
Educated Archy Says:

Classic example of fake news . They take an issue twist it out of proportion and only tell a quarter of the story . We only know the simple answer is for Gaza to put down their guns and stop promoting terror . It's the typical kind of alternative facts used at the nyt.

Formerly The real TrumpISprez

Glad you changed your name, no doubt its because of Trumpie's failures in 90 days. This article is from the Jerusalem Post, not NYT and its not fake news. In fact over 50,000 gazans fled the strip in past 2 years, showing the rest of the world what schmutz Hamas is. They'd run to Israel for normal lives if they could...

5

 Apr 17, 2017 at 05:20 PM Tsfat-Breslover-Kotzker Says:

A lengthy discourse on who can do what to solve the Gazans' problems.
A few accurate points. Most not.
Dès juré Israel bashing.
One glaring omission: what should the Gazans be doing to help themselves?
As long as the UN treats the Gazans as helpless victims they are hopeless.
Peace is impossible between Jews and Arabs. That doesn't excuse the UN and their constant enabling of the chronic failure to survive of the Gazan Arabs, or the Arabs occupying Jewish land in Yehudah, Shomron or anywhere else in Israel. They should go away, but they don't need to suffer on the way out.

6

 Apr 19, 2017 at 12:12 AM yamsar Says:

Reply to #5  
Tsfat-Breslover-Kotzker Says:

A lengthy discourse on who can do what to solve the Gazans' problems.
A few accurate points. Most not.
Dès juré Israel bashing.
One glaring omission: what should the Gazans be doing to help themselves?
As long as the UN treats the Gazans as helpless victims they are hopeless.
Peace is impossible between Jews and Arabs. That doesn't excuse the UN and their constant enabling of the chronic failure to survive of the Gazan Arabs, or the Arabs occupying Jewish land in Yehudah, Shomron or anywhere else in Israel. They should go away, but they don't need to suffer on the way out.

You must have had a few cups of wine too many.

7

 Apr 19, 2017 at 12:54 AM lazy-boy Says:

Gaza could be unlivable? Gaza is an Islamic paradise! They have everything they want, self rule, only Islamic culture and NO Jews; plus they can shot rockets at Jews any day of the week and the government will smile benignly at them.

What more could a nation of jihadists desire? Gas, water, electricity, education, jobs? Nah, that is too gashmious for real Islamic nuts.

8

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