Monday, 4 November 2013

Gaza’s Ministry of Health warns of consequences of power cuts

The Gaza Strip may face unprecedented environmental and health problems said Minister of Health Mofid Al-Mukhalalati.

Al-Mukhalalati said in a statement released on the ministry’s website on Monday that the halt of the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), the only power plant in the strip, signals harsh and difficult times “because sewage pumps will stop working, which will have significant health implications.” He added that dark roads will increase the risk of traffic accidents.

In an ongoing crackdown on illegal underground tunnel operations beneath the Egypt-Gaza Strip border, the Egyptian army destroyed on Saturday what it described as the “largest network” for diesel smuggling to Gaza, consisting of seven underground tanks near the Rafah border which contained 30 tonnes of diesel gas. On Sunday, the Egyptian coast guards destroyed another eight underground tanks containing 334,000 litres of diesel.

Al-Mukhalalati said power cuts, which may last up to 18 hours, will “directly impact” the health of many patients in hospitals and medical centers, especially those in the emergency department, intensive care units, operation theatres, and those who need kidney dialysis as well infants in incubators. He added that the power cuts will affect blood banks, radiology departments, laboratories and refrigerators needed to store vaccines and medication. more

PLO threatens to take Israel to UN on settlements

RAMALLAH (AFP) -- The PLO threatened to go to the UN Security Council over Israel’s announcement on Sunday of tenders to build more than 1,800 settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"The PLO is considering a mechanism to go the Security Council and the UN against these new Israeli decisions, especially as there are international resolutions that consider settlements illegal," senior PLO member Wassel Abu Youssef said.

Israel issued tenders to build 1,859 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem on Sunday, ahead of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry, an NGO said.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now said that issuing building tenders was the last stage in the bureaucratic process and that homes could start going up shortly. more