Gaza PM to press Egypt over electricity crisis

Maan News Agency Published yesterday (updated) 18/02/2012 20:32

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The prime minister in the Gaza Strip will visit Egypt next week to press for a resolution to Gaza’s electricity crisis, his adviser said Saturday, as students in the coastal strip said blackouts were ruining their education.

Yousef Rizqa told Hamas-affiliated news site Palestine Information Center that Ismail Haniyeh will meet Egyptian officials in Cairo to discuss the fuel shortage that shut down Gaza’s power plant on Tuesday.

The prime minister’s earlier visit to Egypt secured pledges to deliver more electricity, but they are far from being put into effect, an energy official told Ma’an last week. On Saturday, a member of the Egyptian parliament said Egypt would pump 500,000 liters of fuel into Gaza per day for the power plant and 100,000 for gas stations.

“We hope that (Haniyeh’s) visit will be successful and will achieve positive results for our energy and petrol situation,” Rizqa said.

Haniyeh’s spokesman announced earlier Saturday that the premier will soon leave for his third regional tour in recent months. Rizqa said Haniyeh was scheduled to visit Islamic nations, including Malaysia.

Gaza now faces 18-hour blackouts each day, and students in the blockaded strip said the cuts were affecting their education.

A group of students said in a statement: “We are living in darkness, which will disrupt our education. Cutting our electricity is like cutting our backbone.”

Noting the dangers of using candles and diesel generators, the students’ group called on Egypt to provide Gaza with the necessary fuel, and for international institutions to intervene to end the crisis.

Most of Gaza’s energy is brought unofficially from Egypt using underground tunnels, and domestic unrest and price disagreements have disturbed the route.

Under an Israel’s land and sea blockade, the sector also struggles to rehabilitate its power infrastructure due to a ban on importing materials for locally implemented construction. The Gaza power plant suffered damage in Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 2006.


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