The Effects of the Blockade on the Gaza Strip

The blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupation in addition of the closure of the Rafah Crossing and the tunnels by Egyptian Authorities have affected negatively the life of the Gazans in many aspects as follows:

Health Sector:

- Due to fuel shortage, several medical operations and services had stopped since the Ministry of Health needs more than 250,000 liters of fuel monthly to operate generators at the hospitals and other medical facilities. Also there is severe shortage of medicine and medical disposables entered to the Gaza Strip from Egypt.
- The amount of stored medicine has decreased to 30%. 145 types of medicine and 460 kinds of medical disposables have run out.
- Nearly one thousand patients are prevented from getting medical treatment in the Egyptian hospital. Over 300 referral cases received treatment in Egypt per month.
- The electricity outages for 12 hours a day, the lack of fuel necessary for working the electrical generators and ambulances increased and the need of fuel had risen to 360.000 liters a month.
- The construction works at five main hospitals in addition to seven primary medical centers have partially stopped.
- The maintenance works at different medical facilities have been affected negatively due to the lack of spare parts or basic construction materials.

Environmental Sector:

- The wastewater treatment plants stopped functioning and the municipalities are going to pump the sewage water into the sea.
- The percentage of sea water pollution has increased due to carrying away sewage water into the sea.
- Ministry of local Government announced emergency plan and it intends to limit the amount of supplies to the citizens.
- The municipalities work now with its half power to limit the consumption of fuel.
- All countries overlooking the Mediterranean Sea is threatened to be polluted in case the blockade against Gaza continues.

National Economy:

- Hatim Awidah, the Deputy minister of National Economy said the cost of living indicator recorded an increase of the prices with the percentage of 25% compared to July 2013, with 65.0% in the West Bank, 61.0% in the Gaza Strip and 21.0% in Jerusalem. The Israeli occupation control of the crossing has a very bad influence on the Palestinian economy.
- Only 40% of the Gaza Strip basic need entered via Karem Abu Salem crossing including food, clothes, and other basic consuming materials.

Fuel & Electricity:
- A joint committee formed from Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of National Economy follow up the impacts of fuel crisis.
- The Israeli provided the Gaza Strip with only 520 thousands liters of fuel on Sunday via Karem Abu Salem crossing.
- Ministry of Transportation distributed quantities of fuel on the taxis and buses according to the priorities, and did its best to guarantee that the prices kept settled .
- Ahmed Abu Al-Amrein, the Information Director of the Energy Authority said that the power plant is technically operating without problem, but the shortage of fuel leads to decrease hours of supplying electricity to the Gazans to 8 hour a day.

Transportation sector:

- The transportation sector has been affected directly from the ongoing crisis of fuel shortage. Dozens of citizens bunch up the streets awaiting for taxis to get to their jobs, schools or universities.
- Khalil Al-zayian, the senior official at the Ministry of Transportation, said that because of the fuel crisis more than 20 thousands taxis, 300 buses, 30 thousands private cars, 10 thousands motorcycles and 20 thousands good trucks have stopped operating. The Egyptian authorities prevented the entry of new vehicles and spare parts.
- 50 thousands of drivers families have been affected indirectly, in addition to that construction sector also was affected and many vital projects have stopped due to difficulty to transport construction materials

Fishing & Agricultural sector:

- Palestinian Fishing Syndicate stated that 80% of fishing sector has affected due to fuel shortage and limited space allowed by Israeli occupation for fishing.
- The number of Palestinian fishermen is nearly 3700 fishermen, owning 700 boats. Fishing is the source of living for more than 70,000 citizens.
- Wells used for agricultural purposes, fishing boats, farms of livestock and olive pressers all of these sectors have been affected negatively because of fuel shortage.
- Fishers fish within a short distance because of the lack of fuel for their boats.

Public Housing Sector:

- Most of construction projects have stopped.
- The percentage of new tenders has dropped due to lack of construction materials.
- The closure of the borders and the tunnels led to skyrockets in construction materials that already existed in the Gaza Strip.

Other sectors:

- The blockade leads to the delay of opening 6 new schools and construction of 20 others.
- Dozens of blind people face difficulties in moving to their schools.
- Prevention of the entrance of school stationary has negative impacts on the new school year.

Rafah crossing:

- Rafah crossing is still closed for the 13th day. It was only opened for emergency cases for few hours and then closed again.
- 4500 passengers including patients, students, holders of foreign passports are stranded at the Palestinian side of the border.
- The Interior Ministry closed registration for those with foreign residency permits and the sick wishing to travel on their own cost. It said that if registration was opened for those categories then the number of stranded people would jump by thousands.
- Nearly 5000 citizens registered at the Interior Ministry to travel via Rafah crossing, most of them are patients, students, holders of foreign passports.

Alray is the official media agency of the Palestinian Government. Read other articles by Alray, or visit Alray's website.