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Gaza: Left in the dark

Constant power outages mean the people of Gaza are forced to live much of their lives off the grid.

Last updated: 06 Aug 2014 07:45
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Al Jazeera World originally showed "Gaza: Left in the Dark" on January 8, 2013, highlighting the challenges facing the people of Gaza amid constant power cuts caused by limited electricity supply and fuel shortages.

Now, this episode is being repeated with recent updates in the light of the latest attacks and bombing of Gaza's only power station in which 100 people were killed, but still reflecting the hardship of life in Gaza caused by the chronic shortage of electricity.

Israel’s recent strike on the power plant will worsen already serious problems with Gaza’s water supply, sewage treatment and power supplied to medical facilities.

Power lines running from Israel have also been damaged since the start of the conflict, leaving Gaza residents with very little power.

It could take at least a year to rebuild the Gaza power plant Israel has bombed.

 

The war in Gaza

The UN Relief Agency has called it 'an appalling conflict'. Israeli attacks on UN schools and refugee camps have led to strong international criticism. 

Meanwhile, Israel’s position is that it is targeting 'Hamas terrorist operative' and accuses Hamas of using children as 'human shields' or hiding in residential areas. Hamas strongly denies this. Hamas is the democratically-elected government in Gaza, but Israel says that it continues to fire rockets into residential neighbourhoods. Accordingly to Israel, Hamas uses tunnels to launch raids into its territory.

Now with one of the main sources of electricity in the Gaza Strip knocked out, the population faces severe blackouts that will affect the distribution of water and force already overcrowded and over-stretched hospitals and shelters to run on generators.

The people of Gaza continue to face a daily struggle for survival under bombardment and blackout. The frequent power shortage puts at risk the lives of cardiac and dialysis patients and babies in incubators, and increases the daily hardship among the general population.

Even before this offensive, the Gaza Strip struggled with the supply of electricity.

Israel occupied Gaza in 1967. Although its forces withdrew in 2005, they’ve maintained a blockade on the territory ever since. So, even when not under direct attack, the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza suffer poverty and depend heavily on aid.

The blockade has prevented the reconstruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, badly damaged in Israel’s successive military assaults. Israel’s continued sanctions and Egypt’s crackdown on smuggling all further contribute to the crisis in Gaza. 

Gaza: Left in the Dark by filmmaker: Ashraf Mashharawi portrays the many obstacles and complications of life in Gaza caused by the shortage of electricity.

 
Al Jazeera World can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2000; Wednesday: 1200; Thursday: 0100; Friday: 0600; Saturday: 2000; Sunday: 1200; Monday: 0100; Tuesday: 0600.

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