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Gazans protest power cuts in Rafah

Sept. 13, 2015 11:07 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 22, 2015 11:55 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Sunday morning against ongoing daily power cuts.

A Ma’an reporter said the protesters chanted harsh slogans against Palestinian officials and against the Gaza electricity company.

Rafah, they said, suffers power cuts more often than other districts in the coastal enclave.

The current heat wave has only intensified their suffering, protesters said.

On Friday, the head of the Gaza Union of Gas Station Owners warned that fuel supplies in the Gaza Strip were running increasingly low, due to a lack of gasoline coming into the coastal enclave through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing on the border of the southern Gaza Strip.

Due to severe fuel shortages, the Gaza power plant has been regularly operating at approximately half of its capacity (60 out of 120 megawatts) or below, and has been forced to shut down for long periods on several occasions.

The plant requires 550,000 liters of fuel per day to produce at capacity, the energy authority says, although it has rarely been able to reach that amount, mostly due to the Israeli blockade which has limited fuel imports since 2007.

In the Gaza Strip, people have to make do without electricity between 12 to 18 hours a day, on average.

Gaza currently receives electricity from Israel, Egypt, and its power plant, although the plant has struggled to cover its costs for months.

Last summer the plant was targeted during the 50-day Israeli offensive on Gaza, completely knocking it out of commission.

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