Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis for Palestinians

Palestinians throw stones at Israeli security forces (unseen) during clashes in protest to Israel's military operation in Gaza. (REUTERS)
Updated 31 May 2018

Gaza flare-up worsens electricity crisis for Palestinians

  • An already severe electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip has worsened due to the recent military flare-up
  • Gaza is now receiving some 85 megawatts instead of the 120 usually delivered by Israel

GAZA: An already severe electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip has worsened due to the recent military flare-up between Palestinian armed groups and Israel, officials in the enclave said Thursday.
The exchange of fire on Tuesday damaged part of the Israeli electricity lines that supply power to the Gaza Strip, said Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza electricity distribution company.
Israel’s electricity company says a Palestinian rocket fired from the Gaza Strip damaged three lines servicing the south of the blockaded enclave run by Islamist movement Hamas.
The Gaza Strip has for years suffered from electricity shortages that have badly affected its economy and the daily life of its two million residents.
Public mains had been recently providing some four hours of electricity followed by cuts of between 12 to 16 hours.
Following Tuesday’s hostilities, electricity is now cut for between 20 and 30 hours at a time, depending on the location, Thabet said.
“We have been forced to reduce distribution,” he said.
Gaza is now receiving some 85 megawatts instead of the 120 usually delivered by Israel, he said. Some 500 megawatts per day is required to power the strip.
Calm returned to the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli communities on Wednesday a day after the exchange of fire that stretched into the night in the worst military flare-up since a 2014 war.
It began with a barrage of mortar fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel, resulting in a heavy Israeli response.
Israel said it targeted some 65 militant sites in the Gaza Strip. It also said around 100 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza either exploded in Israel or were intercepted by air defenses.
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded. No casualties were reported in Gaza.
Egypt was reportedly influential in calming the situation. Hamas said a cease-fire had been reached, but Israel denied it was part of any deal.


Rescue mission aids starving lions in neglected Sudan zoo

Updated 22 min 2 sec ago

Rescue mission aids starving lions in neglected Sudan zoo

KHARTOUM: Four lions in a rundown zoo in the capital of Sudan, wasting away from hunger, are undergoing lifesaving medical treatment from an international animal rescue organization.

The plight of the rail-thin lions in Al-Qurashi Park in Khartoum set off an outpouring of sympathy and donations from around the world. At least five lions, both male and female, once inhabited the zoo. One lioness died of starvation last week.

On Tuesday, veterinarians and wildlife experts from Vienna-based animal welfare group Four Paws International conducted medical checks at the park, which has fallen on hard times for lack of money and attention.

Amir Khalil, head of the Four Paws emergency mission, said he was “shocked” by the poor state of the lions, their cramped quarters and the park’s general disarray.

“I don’t understand why no one was given the task of feeding them or how authorities could just overlook this,” he said, describing two of the remaining four as in critical condition, “dehydrated ... a third of their normal weight.”

Four Paws faces a daunting task and its two-day trip has been dogged by challenges from the start. 

When the team arrived late on Monday, customs agents confiscated most of their luggage and essential medicine, citing a lack of prior approval. The group says it’s operating with just a fraction of its equipment, and scrambling to find local alternatives.

Although the group typically carries out rescue missions, it has no immediate plan to transport the animals in Al-Qurashi to better conditions abroad.