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On Grounds of Electricity Crisis, Disaster of 3 Children burnt to Death Requires the Unity of Parties Administrating the Electricity Sector

Ref: 26\2016


The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep sorrow over the on-going tragic incidents due to electricity crisis, the last of which was a house burnt in al-Shati Refugee Camp resulting in the death of three siblings and causing their fourth brother serious burns. Since 2010, the number of victims searching for alternative energy sources has amounted to 29 civilians, including 24 children. PCHR also expresses its deep concern over the failure in administrating the electricity crisis and the deterioration of power shortage which damaged most vital sectors necessary for the decent life of Gaza population. PCHR strongly denounces dragging of the Palestinian people into the political conflict. The Gaza Strip population has lost many lives in their search for alternative energy sources.

On 6 May 2016 in a serious incident, a house belonging to Mohammed Ali Mubarek al-Hindi (31), from al-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza, caught fire as a lit candle fell in the only bedroom, where the five children of the abovementioned civilian were asleep. As a result, the bedroom burst into flames and three of the children were burnt to death; Yousra (4), Rahaf (2) and Naser (9 months), while the fourth child, Mohanned (7), sustained serious burns.

PCHR passes condolences to the victims’ family and condemns the ongoing failure of the parties responsible for administrating the electricity sector in the Gaza Strip to solve the power crisis which has aggravated over the last days. According to PCHR’s follow up of the consequences of the power crisis intensification in the Gaza Strip, only one of the power generators was operated to distribute electricity for 4-6 hours and then cut off for 12-14 hours daily instead of distributing electricity for 8 hours and then cutting it off for 8 hours. The suffering of Palestinian civilians has aggravated while searching for alternative power source in light of the deterioration of their economic and social conditions and increase of unemployment and poverty rates.

PCHR calls upon the Palestinian Unity Government to assume its legal and moral responsibilities towards the 1.8 million people living in the Strip who suffer a suffocating economic and social siege. Furthermore, the residents of the Strip have been suffering deteriorating health and environment services, including the deterioration of water and sewage infrastructure, as well as educational, social and economic services.

PCHR strongly condemns the complete failure to manage the electricity crises and deterioration of the power shortage which damaged most vital sectors necessary for the decent life of Gaza Strip. PCHR stresses that the current electricity crisis is completely political. It is a result of the absence of honest Palestinian Unity and the continuous political conflict despite forming a unity government.  PCHR also holds the Energy Authority in Gaza and GEDCO fully responsible for the aggravation of the crisis. Moreover, PCHR demands forming a unified administration of the electricity sector according to a unified law in order to immediately take initiative to solve the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip depending on fair and transparent bases and hold those proven not bearing responsibilities accountable.