June 13, 2016

GAZA (Ma’an) — Egyptian electricity lines that feed the southern Gaza Strip are working again after being disconnected for several hours.

An official at the Electricity Company in Gaza told Ma’an that the Egyptian lines, which power the district of Rafah and parts of Khan Yunis in the south are operational again after maintenance works in Al-Arish power plant in Egypt were completed.

Egyptian power lines to the besieged Gaza Strip were also out of order earlier this month, causing electricity blackouts in the districts of Rafah and parts of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

A sudden complication at the al-Arish power station caused the power connection to cut, an official at Gaza’s electricity company told Ma’an.

The besieged enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.

From the start of May, the Gaza Strip was only provided power for six-hour intervals followed by 12 hours without power for two weeks, due to a problem with the Egyptian power lines.

Gaza’s electricity company announced mid-May that the besieged enclave would gradually return to the usual electricity schedule of eight-hour intervals followed by eight hours without power.

Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs. The power plant has not run at full capacity in years, with Israel’s crippling blockade severely limiting fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

Gaza’s electricity crisis made headlines last month when three small children died in a house fire caused by candles that the family used during a power cut.

War has also taken its toll, and during Israel’s 50-day offensive on Gaza in 2014, the power plant was targeted, completely knocking it out of commission.

The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable for residents by 2020, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel’s blockade.