The 2 million Palestinians in Gaza face a “double crisis” as they struggle with an acute electricity shortage just as the coronavirus has spread into the community among the vulnerable population, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

“The population of Gaza is under terrible strain,” said Ignacio Casares Garcia, head of the ICRC’s Gaza Sub-delegation. “People are stressed: not only are they coping with just four hours of electricity a day; their worries over the virus have been hugely compounded and they are now under lockdown.”

“We want to reaffirm our commitment to doing all we can to support the Gaza population as they face the virus,” said Casares Garcia. “They can’t do this alone. They need all the international assistance they can get to make sure they are equipped to deal with the crisis.”

The Israeli occupation has launched a number of offensives in several areas of the densely populated Strip in acts of retaliation. As a means of collective punishment, the occupation has tightened the 13 year old siege on the Palestinian population in Gaza, closed the fishing zone, and blocked the necessary fuel for sustained electricity production.