GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The first truckloads of Qatari-funded fuel left from the Suez Canal in Egypt to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a Gaza-based official said.
An estimated one million liters of Qatari-funded fuel, shipped through the Kerem Shalom crossing, will be used to run the Gaza power station for 45 days using 45 megawatts daily, a member of the Gaza-based committee of independent Palestinian figures Samir Mousa said.
The move comes amid a power crisis in the Gaza Strip that has left small workshops and factories working far below their normal capacity.
The current lack of electricity creates huge losses for the local businesses as factories and workshops are producing only 20 percent of their capacity, the speaker of the general federation of Gaza trade unions Samir al-Amsi said Monday.
If the electricity crisis continues, al-Amsi warned, 90 percent of Gaza's factories, blacksmith workshops, aluminum workshops, and automobile repair workshops could shut down.
The Gaza Strip, which receives its electricity from Israel, Egypt, and its one power plant, has been struggling to produce enough power for months.
Earlier this month, the Gaza Strip was reduced to eight hours of electricity per day after its sole power plant shut down because it was unable to afford PA-imposed taxes.
In 2012, Egypt stopped pumping Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip after 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed in an attack in the bordering Sinai Peninsula.
However, the Egyptian authorities now promise to keep shipping the fuel to Gaza in an agreement reached between Palestinian independent officials, the Egyptian government and the Arab League to solve the power crisis in the Gaza Strip.