|Tunnel update: transfer of construction materials remains severely reduced
As in the previous week, on average, around 800,000 liters of diesel and 100,000 liters of petrol continue to enter through the tunnels each day, almost the same quantities that entered before the Egyptian measures against tunnels began more than a month ago. The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continues operating three of four turbines (fuelled by diesel), producing around two-thirds of its full capacity (80 out of 120 megawatts). The use of diesel is currently controlled by the local authorities in order to ensure sufficient supplies to support basic services, including hospitals (which rely on fuel to run backup generators due to the shortage of electricity) and water and wastewater systems. In recent years, the tunnels have become the primary entry point for transfer of fuel from Egypt, which is cheaper than fuel from Israel.
In addition, the entry of construction materials through the tunnels continued, with an average of 1,200 tonnes of cement and 1,000 tonnes of aggregates transferred into Gaza each day, still significantly lower than the 7,500 tonnes of construction materials which entered each day prices of such materials in the local market have continued to decline and remain between 20 and 30 per cent above the prices earlier in the year. The import of basic construction materials through Kerem Shalom, the official crossing with Israel, remains severely restricted.
Rafah Crossing still partially operating
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing has remained operational for four hours per day (for six days per week), compared to the previous standard of nine hours per day (for seven days per week). As in recent weeks, only foreign nationals, authorized Palestinians holding dual nationalities and a limited number of Palestinians referred officially for medical treatment abroad passengers are allowed to cross. On average this week, at least 230 people crossed from the Gaza Strip to Egypt and around 300 from Egypt to the Gaza Strip per day, just under half of the average number of people crossing per day (approximately 1400) in previous months. The crossing remains the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians due to the long-standing severe restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via the Erez Crossing. Since the beginning of July, Egyptian authorities have not been allowing any of the visits of international delegations to Gaza through Egypt and as well only allowing a reduced number of Palestinians to cross into Egypt.
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, the reduction of Rafah crossing operations affected the flow of medical supplies into Gaza, which may lead to an increase in drug shortages. Approximately 30 per cent of the medical supplies transferred to Gaza via Rafah Crossing are in-kind donations from other countries and international groups.