The sole electricity plant in the Gaza Strip stopped working Thursday because of a lack of fuel, officials said, as concerns grew over worsening humanitarian conditions in the Hamas-controlled area.
The closure of the plant, which normally provides around a fifth of Gaza's electricity, will exacerbate an already critical power shortage.
Gaza's two million residents receive only around four hours of mains electricity a day, a situation for which they blame Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas leaders enjoy electricity 24 hours a day. However, they refuse to invest international aid monies in infrastructure for Gaza's residents, preferring instead to invest in terror tunnels, rockets, and mortars, intended for use against Israeli civilians.
Mohammed Thabet, spokesman for Gaza's energy distribution company, said it had been informed by the energy authority the power station stopped functioning at midnight because of the lack of fuel.
Usually the plant provides around 20 megawatts per day using fuel imported from Egypt, but now the only energy available in the Strip is the roughly 120 megawatts of electricity imported from Israel.
"The Gaza Strip needs around 500 megawatts (per day). We have an energy deficit of 380 megawatts," Thabet said.
The distribution company called in a statement for rapid moves to provide fuel to the plant again.
Last week, the United Arab Emirates provided financing for fuel for generators at hospitals and other key facilities. Three hospitals and 16 medical centers had stopped offering key services in recent weeks because of the crippling fuel shortages.