Dozens of Palestinian Muslim scholars staged a rally in the Gaza Strip yesterday to protest an acute power crisis taking a heavy toll on hospitals in the Palestinian territory. Protesters, who gathered outside a hospital in eastern Gaza City, called for rallying efforts to prevent the collapse of Gaza's health sector.
"The closure of hospitals requires the world to stand by the Palestinian people," Nasim Yasin, deputy leader of the Palestinian Scholars League, which organized the rally, said. He called on the Palestinian government "to shoulder its responsibility and reopen hospitals and provide them with electricity and medical supplies." Yasin went on to appeal to the World Health Organization (WHO) and human rights groups to "stand by the Gaza Strip."
Home to nearly two million people, the Israel-blockaded Gaza Strip has struggled with severe electricity shortages since 2006. The crisis has already forced several hospitals and medical centers to suspend services to patients in recent days.
Last week, the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned that an acute energy crisis in the Gaza Strip is pushing the blocked Palestinian territory to the verge of disaster. Although the Gaza Strip requires an estimated 600 megawatts of electricity, it currently receives only 120 megawatts from Israel and another 32 megawatts from Egypt. Gaza's sole functioning power plant, meanwhile, is only able to generate 60 megawatts of electricity, according to the Palestinian Energy Authority.