For the more than 1.8 million people squeezed into Gaza, a territory about twice the size of Washington DC, chaos has always infringed on the daily rhythms of life.
But the latest conflict with neighboring Israel has compounded the misery of many. Since Israel began Operation Protective Edge against Hamas on July 8, about 520,000 people in the small, impoverished territory have been displaced by the conflict, according to the United Nations. That is 29% of the territory’s inhabitants!
The United Nations estimates that more than 10,000 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged in Gaza, an already crowded and impoverished territory.
And after Gaza’s only power plant was hit, residents are without electricity. Without refrigeration. Without water pumps and sewage systems.
At the main hospital, already stretched by weeks of fighting that left close to 1,900 people dead and thousands wounded, a pair of mega-generators powered crucial life-support equipment.
“We cannot supply electricity to hospitals or water pumps or sewage treatment or for domestic use,” Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, deputy chairman of the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority in Gaza said. “People have to pump the water to the residential tanks but don’t have electricity.”
Jamal Derdsawoi, a representative of Gaza’s electric company, pointed at Israel. “By attacking the power plant and cutting the electricity, they’re killing the civilian life in Gaza,” he said.
The United Nations has said that a deliberate strike on the plant would be a violation of humanitarian law.