Palestinian hospitals in the besieged Gaza strip are in an acute crisis because of a severe shortage of fuel that is needed to run the generators, threatening lives of many patients.
Fuel crisis in Gaza has embittered the lives of medical patients from time to time. They live in constant fear that the electricity will suddenly be cut suddenly, and medical devices will cease to function, aggravating the health conditions of the patients and putting their lives at risk of death.
Dr. Nabil Albrkona, the supervisor of children’s nurseries and hospitals in Gaza, said to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency that Annaser hospital for children is affected with an acute shortage of fuel for a week, and the amount of fuel that it has is only sufficient for a day.
He explained that the ICU units in the hospital are most affected, as premature babies need incubators which require electricity around the clock.
He went to say that the emergency department in the hospital receives, daily, many cases of respiratory disease which need nebulizers that run on electricity.
He also said that the hospital suffers a shortage in many types of medicines and medical equipment.
Dr. Ayman Sahbani, director of the ambulance and emergency department at Shifa Hospital, warned of running out of the fuel in the hospital, which will affect all departments, noting that the amount of the fuel is only sufficient for three days.
He noted that the most affected units in the hospital are the ICU and dialysis department.
He said that, in case the hospital is not supplied with a sufficient amount of fuel, the lives of many patients would put at risk of death, noting that the amount of fuel that being pumped from Ramallah is not sufficient.
Spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qedra, previously stated that the hospitals in Gaza are severely affected with fuel crisis, pointing out that the hospitals faces very tough choices, lest they be supplied with fuel.
Al-Qedra said that the hospitals need 420,000 liter of fuel, monthly, for eight hours a day of electricity, explaining that if the power was cut off more than eight hours, it signifies a need for more fuel.
He stressed that the real crisis has already begun in Mohammed Dura hospital for children, and the scenario will be repeated in other hospitals if the shortage continues.
The current electricity deficit in Gaza began with an Israeli airstrike on the power plant (GPP), in June of 2006, and continues to severely disrupt the delivery of basic services, undermining already vulnerable livelihoods and living conditions.
Gaza has three sources of electricity: the GPP, which has been operating at approximately half or less of its capacity (60 out of a potential 120 mega watts); and electricity purchased from Israel (120 MW) and Egypt (28 MW), via 13 crossborder feeder lines. Combined, these are able to meet less than 45 per cent of the estimated 470 MW electricity demand.
The power supply has been significantly impaired over recent years, by various factors, including the lack of funding for fuel for the GPP; the impact of unrepaired damage caused by Israeli attacks on the GPP and power networks; the lack of upgrade to the network; and the recurring malfunctioning or breakdown of the Israeli and Egyptian feeder lines.
(Edited for the IMEMC by chris @ imemc.org)