Serious fuel shortages in Gaza are about to lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe” according to the director of public medical supplies. Already major hospitals have begun shutting down operating rooms as a result of the shortages according to Ma’an News Agency.The Ministry of Health in Gaza claims that it has only received one quarter to one third of the fuel it requires for 2011. The fuel is critical for providing electricity through generators.

Operating rooms in Gaza City’s Ash-Shifa and the European Khan Younis hospitals have already been closed because of power shortages. It is feared that there will be further closures in these and other hospitals.

Further hospital closures will exacerbate the current humanitiarian crisis of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza.

Earlier this year, the hospitals also faced critical shortages of medical supplies.

Israel currently maintains a maritime blockade of Gaza and only keeps open one border crossing. Gaza also has a border crossing with Egypt.