Thursday, November 14, 2013

IN PHOTOS: Gaza without electricity - Israel's illegal siege 7 years on.

Dear friends, 
as you will be aware, since 2006 Israel has been illegally blockading the Gaza Strip.  This coastal region is one of the most densely populated regions in the world and home to more than 1.6 million Palestinians. Israel's land, sea and air blockade of Gaza intensified in 2007 when Hamas took control of the region and has seen Gaza transformed it into the world's largest open air prison. Israel's actions are illegal under international law with collective punishment such as this deemed a war crime.

On November 12, as a result of Israel's blockade, Gaza's Ministry of Health warned that the territory was on the brink of a “health catastrophe”. Due to Israel's illegal siege of Gaza, there is a severe shortage of essential medicines.  Every hospital in the world has list of essential drugs - in Gaza, this includes 480 essential drugs, of which 140 have completely run out. Of the remaing 240, there is only sufficient stock of 70 of them for another 3 month. 

Palestinian hospitals in Gaza are also being severely impacted by the severe fuel shortage in Gaza. Since 2006, the 13 Palestinian hospitals and other essential services in Gaza have been reliant, daily, on emergency generators to power life saving equipment.  This is due to Israel's bombing of much of Gaza's public infrastructure in 2006, which destroyed Gaza's only electricity plant. 

These fuel and power shortage impact on the entire Palestinian population as well. Talking with friends in Gaza, they tell me that they are still being subject to lengthy power cuts, daily, often for between 4 to 8 hours at a time.

The Gazan population is further at risk due to the lack of potable water, as a result of Israel's destruction of Gaza's only water purification centre in 2006.  As a result, fuel is also needed to run water purification systems and treat sewage.  On November 13, due to the short of electricity and fuel thousands of gallons of sewage overflowed onto the streets of Gaza. According to the Gaza City Wastewater Department, the spillage has caused widespread environmental and health hazards, affecting more than 20,000 people in the city.

I have included a range of photos below taken recently in Gaza, which highlight the dire situation faced by more than 1.6 million Palestinians living in the region. 

Israel's open air prison in Gaza is yet another reason why the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign should be supported.

In solidarity, Kim 

Jabalia refugee camp: Palestinian school boys light candles during a protest against the severe fuel cuts that lead to power shortages and the Israel's illegal 7 year siege.  Photo by:Mohammed Talatene, 7 November 2013.

Children protest power cuts and the impact on their ability to study and receive and education. 3 Nov 2013.

Palestinians in Gaza protest electricity cuts and fuel shortages due to Israel's blockade. Photo by Mohammed Assad, 14 November 2013

Palestinian ambulance and emergency service workers attend a rally in front of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt on February 18, 2012.   The emergency crews and ambulance workers called on Egypt provide the Gaza Strip with electricity and diesel. Photo by. UPI/Ismael Mohamad

Premature babies receive treatment in Nasser Hospital as the hospital is in danger of running out of fuel, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza on February 16, 2012.   Israel's illegal blockade has left Gaza with very little fuel rations for its citizen. Gaza hospitals, due to frequent electricity cuts are forced to rely on emergency generators to run life saving equipment, intensive care units and neo-natal units. Photo by: UPI/Ismael Mohamad

Palestinian worker carries a boy walking down the street flooded with sewage in the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City. Photo by Mohammed Talatene, 13 Nov 2013.
Palestinians walk on the side of a street flooded with waste water in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A Palestinian rides his horse cart in flooded waste water at a main street in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.  (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

In February 2013, Egypt flooded tunnels which bring goods and fuel into Gaza as a result of Israel's blockade with sewage: A Palestinian clearing a tunnel of sewage in Rafah, between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip. Photo by: Hatem Moussa/Associated Press

2010: Sewage flows into the sea as a result of Israel's blockade and destruction of water purification facilities.  Photo by: Anne Paq: Chroniques de Palestine, 21.08.2010.

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