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The poor and the sick suffer as Israel cuts power to Gaza - Independent Online Edition > Middle East

Mansour Rahal lay unconscious in the intensive care unit of Gaza City's Shifa hospital, linked to an electrically powered ventilator, the coloured monitor above his head showing his heart, respiration and oxygen saturation rate.

On Thursday last week, the teenager was driving his donkey cart through Beit Lahiya when it was destroyed by a missile which targeted militants in a nearby car. The rocket killed his mother and older brother, and Mansour contracted meningitis after suffering severe head wounds.

His hopes of survival yesterday depended on there being enough diesel to keep in operation the four generators which were Shifa's only source of power. His doctor, Kamal al-Geathny, said: "If we lose power, he and six other patients in this unit will die."

This was the scene at the hospital yesterday before Israel authorised limited supplies of fuel and medicine to Gaza after a wave of international condemnation for its imposition of a four-day-old total embargo, which left much of the Strip without electricity. The EU called the blockade a " collective punishment" of the Palestinians in Gaza.

The embargo caused industrial diesel to run out, shutting down Gaza's only power station on Sunday, plunging Gaza City into darkness. Large parts of it are still without power.

by Fran on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:26:31 PM EST
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