- Title: Gaza power crisis eases as Qatar donates $12 mln to buy fuel
- Date: 16th January 2017
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (JANUARY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) TRUCK MOVING FUEL CONTAINER VARIOUS OF GAZA'S POWER PLANT PALESTINIAN FLAG VARIOUS OF TRUCK DRIVING INTO POWER PLANT WORKERS AT POWER PLANT EMPTYING FUEL INTO POWER PLANT CONTAINER VARIOUS OF GAZA RESIDENT, HAIDAR AL-OUROKI, LOOKING AT POWER PLANT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GAZA RESIDENT, HAIDAR AL-OUROKI, SAYING: "We want to have it (electricity) for 24 hours but having it for eight hours is better than nothing." RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (JANUARY 16, 2017) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER RAMI AL-HAMDALLAH AT NEWS CONFERENCE PALESTINIAN FLAG (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER RAMI AL-HAMDALLAH, SAYING: "I want to thank the Qatari government and the Turkish government, I spoke over the phone yesterday with to Qatari officials and they will pay four million (U.S.) dollar for three months." PHOTOGRAPHER AT SCENE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER RAMI AL-HAMDALLAH, SAYING: "A final solution to the electricity problem as well as the other essential issues requires from Hamas movement to act responsibly and enable the government of national consensus from assuming its full responsibilities in Gaza Strip." MORE OF NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 30th January 2017 15:31
- Keywords: Gaza power Qatar fuel donation Palestinians
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZBZ96V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:An electricity crisis that has caused protests and unrest in the Gaza Strip eased on Monday (January 16) after Qatar donated $12 million to buy fuel for the Palestinian enclave's lone power plant, officials said.
For weeks, Gaza's population of 2 million has been making do with barely a few hours a day of electricity - less than half its usual supply.
The Energy Authority run by the enclave's governing Hamas Islamist group said the Qatari-funded fuel would power a third generator at the power plant and help provide electricity in eight-hour cycles for three months.
The cash injection could also ease public pressure on Hamas, whose police forces clashed on Thursday with demonstrators in Jabalya refugee camp protesting against the blackouts. The Interior Ministry said that later in the day it would free several people detained in connection with the protests.
Gaza resident Haidar Al-Ouroki said that they should have electricity 24 hours not only eight hours.
Gaza has demand for 450-500 MegaWatts of power a day but is receiving barely a third of that. About 30 MW is produced by its one ageing power plant, while 30 MW is imported from Egypt and 120 MW is supplied from Israel.
The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which pays for power supplied by Israel and Egypt, normally transfers fuel to Gaza and exempts it from most taxes. But because of its own financial constraints, it is no longer offsetting all the tax, angering Hamas.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah held a news conference in Ramallah about Gaza power crisis in Gaza.
"I want to thank the Qatari government and the Turkish government, I spoke over the phone yesterday with to Qatari officials and they will pay four million (U.S.) dollar for three months," said Al-Hamdallah.
"A final solution to the electricity problem as well as the other essential issues requires from Hamas movement to act responsibly and enable the government of national consensus from assuming its full responsibilities in Gaza Strip," he added.
The local power plant, which was heavily damaged by Israeli bombing during a war in 2006 and still only operates at about half of its potential capacity, could produce slightly more electricity but it needs more funds for fuel.
With unpaid consumer bills of around $1 billion, the power company is not in a position to seek more credit.
Officials say they need $500 million to rehabilitate Gaza's power network. But with Israel and Egypt maintaining a tight blockade on Gaza, getting replacement parts is difficult.
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