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Gaza’s sole power plant has shut down completely, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday, leaving civilians “cut off from the world”.
Israel has imposed a "total siege" on Gaza and cut off electricity supplies to the enclave after the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which administers Gaza, killed more than 1,000 Israelis in a surprise cross-border attack on Saturday.
The lack of electricity risks compounding the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 1,000 people have been killed by air strikes since the outbreak of the war on Saturday.
"Our colleagues in Gaza have shared the distressing news that the only power plant has ceased operations," Jessica Moussan, ICRC's media adviser for the Middle East, told The National.
"This places critical facilities like hospitals at significant risk and further isolates residents, deepening the challenges faced by Gazans during these very difficult times," she said.
Hisham Mhanna, the ICRC's representative in Gaza, told The National early on Wednesday that people in Gaza will be cut off from the world.
“If there is not enough power to keep hospitals running, the network of telecommunications [and] internet across the city then people will be cut off from the world,” he said.
“This will impact the supply of electricity to households in Gaza, which is now almost zero because of the lack of power sources and there are grave damages to the infrastructure,” Mr Mhanna said.
Some hospitals, not all, still have solar systems or generators but they need fuel to keep them running which is expected to run out at any moment, he said.
Border crossings into Gaza have been blocked off by Israel, meaning medical and food supplies are running low, as well as fuel.
The move will also have a devastating effect on the provision of water and health care in the Gaza strip.
“Many of the hospitals and medical care centres are out of service now, as some of them were damaged or partially damaged [in the fighting], and also because they ran out of the medical supplies,” Mr Mhanna said.
He was speaking as bombings targeted buildings close to where he was stationed.
The war, which has already claimed at least 2,100 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate.
So far, more than 263,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the Gaza Strip.