UN warns Gaza has just 10 days of emergency fuel left

UN officials call for urgent donor support to avoid humanitarian disaster as hospital power supplies run dry.

A room of the intensive care unit is seen empty of patients due to power shortages at Durra hospital in Gaza City
Hospitals have been left without power in the besieged territory [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

The United Nations has warned that Gaza’s emergency fuel supplies will run dry in 10 days unless it receives immediate donor support.

In a statement published on Wednesday, officials said $6.5m was needed to buy generator fuel and stave off the collapse of “critical services”.

At least 7.7 million litres of fuel is needed to continue to operate hospital equipment, such as MRIs, CT Scanners, and x-ray machines. 

Fuel is also required to make sure operating theatres, schools and desalination plants continue to operate properly.

“Immediate donor support is urgent to ensure that vulnerable Palestinians in Gaza can access life-saving health, water and sanitation services,” said UN official Roberto Valent, who heads the body’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People.

“Hospitals have already begun to close,” he added.

“Without funding, more service providers will be forced to suspend operations over the coming weeks, and the situation will deteriorate dramatically, with potential impacts on the entire population.

“We cannot allow this to happen.”

Israel has besieged Gaza since 2007 and has placed restrictions on goods allowed to enter the territory, including fuel.

More than two million Palestinians living in the area have to survive on fewer than eight hours of electricity a day and power plants often struggle to keep up with demand due to a shortage of fuel, necessary parts for repairs and damage from Israeli air raids. 

Source: Al Jazeera