GAZA – The Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea bordering Israel and Egypt, is frequently plunged into darkness during daily power outages.
Abu al-Abed, who owns a sewing factory that makes children and women’s clothing, told epa that he has had to half the number of labor days to three, as well as reduce his workforce from a 30-strong team to just four, due to Gaza’s ongoing electricity crisis and deteriorating economic situation.
Epa photographs showed al-Abed in his factory, the only light seeping in from a row of narrow windows at one end of the room, along with his handful of employees.
Besides impacting on the productivity of businesses and services in the Palestinian territory, the outages see most residents in the Strip using batteries, private generators or candles in order to light and power their homes.
Water supplies often rely on electric pumps, making washing and laundry difficult tasks.
The Gaza Strip is home to some 1.8 million people, whose days are sometimes hit by 12-hour-long power outages, according to the epa photojournalist.
“Before the electricity was working just 4 hours daily,” said the photographer, noting that the situation had improved following the start of talks between the Hamas and Fatah parties on Oct. 1.
Gaza’s only power plant is reportedly short on fuel and relies on daily fuel imports from neighboring Israel and Egypt.
But the electricity that this plant generates does not meet the demands of the Gaza population.
In June, the United Nations called for “immediate action” from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas over the crisis, warning that the situation was “deteriorating to unprecedented levels.”