Gaza crippled by electricity crisis as power plant runs out of fuel

Gazans walk along a darkened street during a power outage on April 14.

Story highlights

  • Gaza power cuts prompted wide-scale protests in January
  • Palestinian Authority and Hamas blame each other for energy crisis

(CNN)Gaza's only power plant has run out of fuel, leaving 2 million residents of the coastal enclave with only four hours of electricity a day in what the UN cautions could be the tipping point to making Gaza "unlivable."

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza blame each other for the energy shortage.
The power generating authority in Gaza says it cannot afford to buy more fuel for the plant -- mostly because of taxes imposed by the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian Authority claims that the Hamas officials in Gaza are simply incapable of running the plant efficiently.
    In January, as wide-scale protests erupted in Gaza sparked by the lack of electricity, Qatar and Turkey agreed to provide a 3-month supply of fuel for the power plant, enough for 6-12 hours of electricity a day.
    That supply was exhausted on Sunday, forcing Gazans to prepare for a life with even less electricity. Gaza will only have access to electricity imported from Israel and Egypt, which meets less than a third of demand.
    The Gaza Ministry of Health on Monday warned of a health crisis and the possibility of delayed or canceled surgeries if the disagreement isn't resolved within 48 hours.
    "If, in two days from today, the issue will not be solved, then we will have to cancel between 200-250 surgeries a day," Dr. Ashraf Al Qedra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said.
    "All will be affected by the electricity cut."

    Lives 'start when the electricity comes o