Red Cross delivers fuel to Gaza hospitals (BBC) British Broadcasting Company) 2 April 2012 Last updated at 16:36 GMT)
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) says it has begun
distributing emergency fuel supplies to hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
The 150,000 litres (33,000 gallons) of diesel would help 13 public
hospitals maintain essential health services for the next 10 days,
the ICRC said.
Immediate action had to be taken to prevent further deterioration of
the fuel and electricity crisis, it added.
Gaza´s only power plant closed eight days ago because of a lack of
Hamas, which governs the coastal territory, decided more than a year
ago to fire the plant with fuel smuggled from Egypt, rather than pay
for fuel from Israel, which is more expensive and subject to
´Specialist units hardest hit´
But in February, Egypt began to crack down on the smuggling of fuel,
because it was suffering shortages itself and wanted imports to Gaza
to pass through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing.
Hamas has also blamed Israel´s continuing blockade of the territory,
from which it withdrew in 2005 but nearly all whose land crossings it
still controls. But Israeli officials have accused the Islamist group
of manufacturing the crisis and of rejecting offers of supplies from
The head of the ICRC delegation for Israel and the Occupied
Territories, Juan-Pedro Schaerer, said on Friday when announcing the
shipment: "The current failure to ensure delivery of fuel and
electricity could rapidly lead to interruptions in vital public
services such as hospital care and water supply, putting the lives of
thousands of patients in danger."
"We have already warned that in the event of any such disruption,
hospital operating theatres and specialist units, such as those
providing intensive care, neonatal care and haemodialysis, would be
especially hard hit," he added.
The prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, Ismail Haniya,
said on Monday that his foreign minister was in Cairo for "intensive
consultations" with Egypt and the Palestinian Authority on the issue.
The ICRC gave another 150,000 litres of fuel to the hospitals in
February. (© BBC MMXII 04/02/12)
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