Middle East World

Tue 03 August 2021:

According to a new research conducted in Gaza by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 80 percent of Gaza’s population spends the most of their time in the dark, with only 10-12 hours of electricity per day.

During the summer, this situation becomes even more troublesome, posing a threat to Gazans’ health and daily lives, with the majority of the population unable to refrigerate food and wastewater treatment plants unable to operate.

According to the study, people are suffering psychologically as a result of the chronic, long-term electrical shortages and power outages, with 94 percent of Gazans asked saying the situation has a negative impact on their mental health.


Furthermore, in May, an intense escalation of hostilities damaged infrastructure and caused huge supply shortages through main power lines, leaving people with only 4-5 hours of electricity per day.

While some can afford additional electricity supply through generators at least 500,000 people cannot afford additional power, so they are forced to spend most of their day without electricity. 

“We have a small battery to feed the LED lights and we recharge it only when we have electricity. It survives for an hour or two only, then we stay in pitch black. These LEDs go out most of the time,” says Ahmed Darwish, a 64-year-old father from Bureij refugee camp.

The lack of electricity also means that wastewater treatment plants can no longer be operated, and wastewater is pumped into the sea untreated polluting large parts of Gaza’s shoreline. Not only does this pollute the sea, it contributes to the faster spreading of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which endanger the health of people in Gaza and beyond.

Key findings:

  • 94% of those surveyed said the prolonged situation had affected their mental health.
  • 82% of respondents told the ICRC that they were unable to refrigerate food because of the situation.
  • 27% of those surveyed told the ICRC they could not access any alternative form of power when the municipal power went off. Of these, 91% simply could not afford to pay for more power.
  • 57% said that they could access alternative forms of power, but it was not enough to meet their needs in life or work.

“Electricity has become an issue in Gaza that profoundly impacts basic services like water supply, wastewater treatment, health facilities, as well as also businesses and irrigation of crops and fruit. Particularly in urban contexts like Gaza, people’s well-being and public health conditions strongly depend on electricity, even after the fighting has ended. In 2021, Gazans should not be living like this. We are calling on the authorities concerned and the international community to recognize the situation and work towards improving it”, says Mirjam Müller, the head of ICRC’s Sub delegation in Gaza.





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