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Candle causes house fire during Gaza power cut, injuring father and 2 daughters

Jan. 3, 2017 4:50 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 7, 2017 3:24 P.M.)
A Palestinian boy walks over the rubble of his family's former house in Gaza City's Shujaaiya neighboorhood on May 11, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A man and his two daughters suffered from burns overnight Monday after a fire broke out in their apartment in Gaza City's al-Shujaiyya neighborhood.

The cause of the fire, according to the family, was a candle the girls lit during a power cut so that they could do their homework.

A 12-year-old girl and her 8-year-old sister sustained moderate burns, while their father suffered from minor burns, according to spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qidra.

The besieged Gaza Strip has been suffering for years from a serious power crisis, which intensifies in the winter when families have to make do with only a few hours of power a day. Gaza’s usual electricity schedule alternates eight hours of power followed by eight hours without.

In May 2015, three small children died in a house fire caused by candles the family used during a power cut.

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.

The enclave's severe electricity shortages over the years have exacerbated the already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.

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.
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