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With electricity shut off, this is how Gazans are filling the power gap

Amid power cut-offs, people are turning to solar power and generators.

With electricity shut off, this is how Gazans are filling the power gap
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Three weeks after Israel imposed a “complete siege” in Gaza, people in the territory face an unprecedented crisis – power is off, and the last fuel for hospital emergency generators could run out anytime soon.

The actions are part of the “total siege” Israel has implemented in response to Hamas fighters’ surprise attack on October 7.

To keep the lights on and get basic life services in the Gaza Strip, some are tapping the one natural resource they have in abundance: sunlight.

Just how vital this energy source is became apparent earlier this month when the communications tower in the besieged territory was bombed, and electricity was cut off to the strip’s sole power plant. 

Since then, the Gaza Strip is without reliable internet or electricity.

Some people have enough voltaic panels to charge small devices, like smartphones, though barely enough to make up the power-supply shortfall.

Hospitals and other major infrastructure are relying on diesel-powered generators, but with fuel also running low, that could stop.

Plestia Alaqad, a journalist in Gaza, noted that she uses two phones to take footage and that she alternately charges them at the hospital, but what happens now that the majority of hospitals have lost power?

In a recent video, a doctor was shown using a phone light to operate on a patient in a hospital in Gaza due to a lack of power

Even though Israel permitted 20 aid trucks into Gaza through the Rafah land crossing border with Egypt, they have declined fuel within the aid. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says the fuel it supplies for Gaza would have run out by yesterday. 

Despite this restricted access, civilians and journalists have been reporting on the ground. Muhammad Smiry, a journalist based in Gaza, wrote on X, “There is no electricity in Gaza at all, but Israel can’t block the sun,” attaching a photo with power banks, a phone, and a recorder being charged. 

Bisan Owda, a 25-year-old filmmaker in Gaza, released a video showing how she would charge her equipment. “Some families have generators; they turn them on for 2 hours to charge, but outside, there is no power at all. We charge our phones and power banks as much as we can,” said Owda before the IDF told her and her family to evacuate their home.

Some have even reported that keeping up with the news has proven difficult. This is along with the internet outages, lack of cellular, and no safe place to stay.  

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