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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
18 April 2008







Gaza fuel crisis
as of 17 April 2008

KEY OBSERVATIONS

- The Gaza Strip is entirely dependent on Israel for fuel supplies. Since 28 October 2007, Israel has restricted fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip for both public and private use.

- Last week, fuel shortages were aggravated both by a strike by Gaza fuel distributors and the halting of all fuel supplies to Gaza from 10-15 April, following a Palestinian militant attack at Nahal Oz.

- Supplies of gasoline and diesel remain suspended. Limited deliveries of industrial gasoline for the Gaza Power Plant and cooking gas resumed on April 16.

- The fuel cuts have generated a 31% reduction in internally-generated electrical supply, resulting in daily power outages. It is also causing severe disruption to basic services, including water distribution, sewage treatment and healthcare. Up to 280,000 of Gazans currently receive water for only 3-5 hours every four days.

- Fuel shortages have caused a suspension of garbage collection in Gaza City (pop. 600,000) for the last two weeks, and of classes in the four major Gaza universities.

FUEL SUPPLIES

Gaza is completely dependent on Israel for all its supplies of fuel. Fuel enters Gaza via underground pipelines which cross the Israel-Gaza border at Nahal Oz. The fuel comes in four types:

- Industrial gasoline - exclusively for Gaza’s power plant for the production of electricity;

- Gasoline - for vehicles;

- Diesel - for vehicles and back-up generators which are vital during Gaza’s frequent electricity cuts;

- Cooking gas - also for vehicles in the absence of gasoline.

Before 28 October 2007, Gaza’s fuel supplies were dictated by market forces and supply was related to demand. On 28 October, following a decision to declare the Hamas government a ‘hostile entity’, Israel began reducing the supply of fuel to Gaza. The Israeli High Court of Justice authorized the fuel cuts in January 2008, in a decision criticized by Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups as condoning collective punishment.

Since then, there has been a steady decline in the amount of fuel allowed to enter Gaza. The decline has been particularly dramatic regarding gasoline and diesel supplies.



In March 2007, 8.8 million liters of diesel and 1.7 million liters of gasoline were supplied to Gaza. In March 2008, the figures were reduced to 3.8 million liters of diesel and 340,000 liters of gasoline, representing a reduction of 57% and 80% respectively.


On 7 April 2008, the Palestinian Gas Station Owners Association stopped collecting fuel from Nahal Oz in protest against the small amounts of fuel that Israel was allowing to enter Gaza.
Subsequently, Israel halted all fuel supplies to Gaza from 10-15 April, after two Israelis were killed by Palestinian militants at the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines. On April 16, Israel resumed supplies of industrial gasoline and cooking gas but not diesel and gasoline.

There are currently 800,000 liters of diesel and 180,000 liters of gasoline in the Palestinian reserves at Nahal Oz which have not been distributed by the gas station owners. These reserves would last less than a day.


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Full report:

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