Gazans, who are recovering from a severe power crisis after Israel allowed fuel in to enable the sole power plant to function, are now facing another crisis — shortage of cooking gas.
Mohammad Baraka, a government employee said: “I don’t know what’s wrong with this country; the problems never end here. Just yesterday, I was waiting in a queue for more than four hours to get fuel for my small generator at home. Today, I’m standing in another queue for cooking gas.” The cooking gas is in short supply as there are not enough stock for the past two months. Baraka added: “The price of a single gas cylinder was 60 shekels (Dh59), now it trades at 80 shekels and the price is still rising.”
In the first week of March, Gaza received only 320 tons of cooking gas via the Israeli crossing of Karem Shalom which is less than 25 per cent of Gaza’s weekly needs. This has forced some families to reduce their usage of gas for heating and they use it merely for cooking. Amal Attar, a housewife said: “Despite the cold weather of late, we haven’t utilised the gas for heating as we try to save it for cooking. When this cylinder runs out of gas, I don’t know how I’ll be able to cook for my family.”
There are about 30 gas stations in the Gaza Strip. Most of them are open for just four hours a week. “We ran out of stock,” said Mahmoud Al Khuzandar, the deputy head of the Gas Station Owners’ Association.
“Over the past two months we’ve been getting about 150 tons of cooking gas a day and it’s never enough; we need around 300 tons on a daily basis. It’s a huge problem.”
Al Khuzandar said while the blockade has either limited or banned the entry of some of the most essential supplies, the lack of coordination between the Palestinian authorities in Ramallah and Gaza has made the problems even more complicated.