Sunday, 25 March 2012

Gaza ambulances stop responding to calls as fuel reserves hit zero


(Palestinian students protest electricity and water shortages in front of UNESCO in Gaza City.(Ashraf Amra / APA images)

As a fuel shortage has worsened across the coastal territory, the ambulance service has been forced to stop responding to all calls except the most critical cases, Abu Shaira told The Electronic Intifada.

With fuel reserves at zero, medical officials are warning that in case of another large-scale military attack by Israel, the ambulance service would be unable to cope.

The fuel crisis claimed its first life this week, when a baby with a lymphatic disorder died because the generator that kept his respirator working ran out of fuel, the Associated Press and local media reported.

Most people in Gaza only have electricity for six hours per day. Gaza has suffered chronic electricity and fuel shortages due to Israel’s 2006 bombing of the territory’s only power generating plant, exacerbated by the blockade which severely restricts fuel imports, as well as disputes between the Gaza and West Bank wings of the Palestinian Authority over payment.

The immediate cause of the current shortage, however, stems from a dispute between Egypt and Hamas authorities in Gaza over the delivery of fuel imports through Israel. more

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