Latest Israeli bombing plunges Gaza into darkness
By Rami Almeghari
Sunday, Dec 12, 2010
The Electronic Intifada, 10 December 2010
Air strikes by Israeli warplanes at dawn on
Thursday caused serious damage to the Gaza Strip's only power plant,
plunging the territory -- which already suffers from frequent outages --
Media reports said the air strikes hit two sites belonging to Hamas near the Gaza power plant in Moghraqa village, central Gaza.
Engineer Darar Abu Sisi, director of operations for the Gaza plant, told
The Electronic Intifada that at 2:47am an Israeli air attack on a Hamas
site near the power plant scattered rocks and debris into the air. A
rock crashed into the a current transformer and voltage transformer in a
substation, causing the unit to shut down.
The damage forced the plant to reduce production from its usual 65
megawatts daily to about 35 megawatts, Abu Sisi said, far short of
current needs. Unless the damage is repaired it may lead to even longer
outages than the power cuts people in Gaza already live with.
"I believe that the Gaza power company has been able to coordinate with
the Israeli side and we hope that this time they will be able to bring
the needed spare part through Israeli land crossings, which are closed
of course because of the Israeli siege," Abu Sisi told The Electronic
Even before Thursday's bombing, Gaza residents face prolonged power
outages of six to eight hours per day, adding to the severe hardships
caused by the prolonged Israeli siege that prevents people and goods
from moving freely in and out of Gaza. Abu Sisi estimated that the
outages would increase to eight to ten hours per day.
The power shortages cripple daily life and the already devastated
economy, and effect everything from students having no light to study,
to households having no power for daily needs, and badly affect hospitals, sanitation and water supply systems.
Another effect is severe noise and air pollution from ubiquitous gasoline-powered generators that people use to cope with the shortages. In 2009 alone, 75 persons died in Gaza from hazardous handling of generators.
In 2006, Israel bombed and severely damaged the power plant's three
turbines which supplies about a third of the electricity used by Gaza's
1.5 million residents. Since the 2006 bombing, Israel has further
crippled electricity supplies by severely limiting the transfer of spare
parts and fuel into Gaza.
According to the UN-commissioned Goldstone report into Israel's winter
2008-09 attack on Gaza, approximately half of Gaza's electricity supply
came from Israel, seven percent from Egypt and a third from the Gaza
power plant, leaving a deficit of about eight percent. The electricity
deficit reached up to 41 percent at times due to Israeli fuel
restrictions, according to other UN sources cited by the Goldstone
With no end in sight to the Israeli siege, Thursday's bombing has just
made the lives of Gaza's population, half of them children, even darker
as the longest nights of winter approach.
Rami Almeghari is a journalist and university lecturer based in the Gaza Strip
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