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Questions & Answers: Why does the Gaza Strip need fuel so urgently?

Questions & Answers: Why does the Gaza Strip need fuel so urgently?

Aid organizations are warning of the devastating consequences of the lack of fuel in the Palestinian coastal area. But not everyone is affected equally by the effects.

Hospitals are only operating at minimal capacity, patients are said to have died as a result and the water supply is in danger – a massive lack of fuel is making life even more difficult for the people of the Gaza Strip during the war. UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths called for at least a few hundred thousand liters of fuel for the coastal area.

Why are fuel deliveries to the Gaza Strip so important?

Even before the war, the electricity supply was precarious. There were power outages lasting hours every day. That’s why hospitals, schools and many private households use generators that run on imported fuel. Desalination plants for the treatment of drinking water also run on fuel. The same applies to pumps for water supply. The only power plant in the Gaza Strip, which has since been shut down, also needs fuel.

Why doesn’t Israel allow fuel deliveries?

After the Hamas massacre in Israel, the government in Jerusalem cut off electricity supplies and fuel deliveries to the Gaza Strip. Israel fears that the fuel could fall into the hands of Hamas and then be used to launch rockets. Extremist Palestinians fire projectiles towards Israel every day. The country is also convinced that Hamas is stashing hundreds of thousands of liters of fuel but denying it to the civilian population.

What is the current situation with the energy supply?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), clinics are rationing their fuel consumption to conserve reserves. According to its own statements, the United Nations still had fuel in a warehouse near the border crossing with Egypt. This depot – which, with knowledge, has been supplied by Israel since 2021 and paid for by Qatar – is now empty, it was said.

For the first time since the beginning of the Gaza war, a tanker filled with fuel rolled across the border from Egypt. According to the Israeli Cogat authority, which is responsible for contacts with the Palestinians, the fuel is said to be diesel. According to UNRWA, this may only be used to refuel trucks for aid deliveries and not for hospitals. According to the Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNWRA), it is a half-filled tanker truck – and therefore only nine percent of what the UN organization needs every day for its life-saving activities. Before the war, according to UN figures, around 45 trucks carrying fuel for commercial and humanitarian purposes drove into the coastal area every day.

What specific effects does the fuel shortage have?

According to the WHO, 22 of the 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have ceased operations due to a lack of electricity and goods. The remaining clinics were only operating at minimal levels. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority and the UN, babies born prematurely and other patients died in the Shifa Clinic due to a power outage. Both gave different numbers of those killed. The information could not be independently verified.

It is unclear to what extent facilities can use other power sources. According to the Israeli Cogat Authority, approximately every hospital has its own solar energy supply system. According to the UN, solar energy in UNRWA health centers is only designed for minimal operation.

According to the UN, there is also a lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip for ambulances, forklifts and the transporters that distribute aid after their arrival in the Gaza Strip. Two water suppliers in the south of the Gaza Strip have already stopped working due to a lack of fuel. This affects 200,000 people. There is also a risk of a total telecommunications failure. According to the UN, rescue workers and ambulances are often no longer able to accept emergency calls.

Is the topic also used politically?

Hamas and the UN are making serious accusations against Israel. Since the beginning of the war against Hamas, gasoline has been used as a weapon, said UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini. But criticism is now also coming from the United Nations. They had already warned several times that their activities would be halted due to the fuel shortage – but this never happened. Because of the attacks, it was not clear whether fuel could be taken from their depot, the UN argued. That’s why UNRWA issues daily warnings. The relationship between Israel and the United Nations is considered very strained. The UN bodies reflect the attitude of the world’s countries, the majority of which are critical or even hostile towards Israel.

Source: Stern

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