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9 September 2006
Sweden supports the re-construction of the power station in Gaza
In late June, all six transformers at the oil fired power station in Gaza were destroyed by Israel. About half of Gaza's electricity supply was instantly cut off, causing increased suffering among the Palestinian population. To mitigate the current humanitarian situation caused by the electricity shortage in Gaza, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, has decided to support transportation and installation of seven new transformers at a cost of USD 2.1 million.
The destruction of the power plant has caused serious damage to health care services, shortage of water supply, severe disturbance in the water and sewage systems, insufficient cooling of food and has had a negative impact on the industries. Most households have only access to electricity 6-8 hours per day and running water for 2-3 hours per day.
At the donor conference in Stockholm
on September 1, on the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, lack of adequate electricity supply was identified as the most acute problem in Gaza.
- The new transformers make it possible to assist hundreds of thousands Palestinians to a better life. Industries, companies and hospitals can function again. At the moment, only one hospital receives electricity 24 hours per day without having to use back-up generators, says Mr Rolf Carlman, Head of Sida's Department for Infrastructure and Economic Cooperation.
The new transformers have been bought from two companies in Egypt with funding from the Arab League. Two of the transformers that were destroyed had been financed by Sida.
More than 50 percent of the Palestinians
live in severe poverty. More than a third does not have a job. The last months' attacks have increased the need for support to meet the problems that arise as a consequence of bombings and destroyed infrastructure.
Earlier this year Sida resolved to contribute SEK 80 million in support of the UN humanitarian appeal. The contribution was mainly being channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, as well as through UNICEF and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Sweden's humanitarian contributions towards relief in Gaza and on the West Bank have increased significantly in recent years - from SEK 178 million in 2000, to SEK 321 million in 2005. During 2006, Sweden has contributed SEK 360 million (EUR 39.3 million) to Palestinian humanitarian relief.
For further information, contact Sida´s Press Office: Phone: +46 (0)8-698 55 55, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org