'Lights out' campaign highlights Gaza power outage plight
A symbolic campaign to highlight the plight of Palestinians living in the blockaded Gaza Strip is being geared up for Friday evening in a number of cities across the globe.
The campaign calls on people to turn off their lights for one hour from 19:00 to 20:00, each according to their local time, mimicking how life is like for Gazans who have to endure frequent power outages.
Potential participants have taken to social media to spread the word in a number of languages, with the Twitter hashtag #GazaLights being the most common one currently.
Activists are reportedly planning to carry out different activities during the specified hour.
Some aim to spend the time with candlelight – praying, holding placards or just talking about ways to help Palestinians in the besieged strip.
Many are also planning to record segments of their activities during the hour, to document their act of solidarity and distribute it on social media platforms to further raise awareness on the plight of Gazans.
In November, the Israeli authorities have officially rejected a proposal of having a Turkish floating power-generating ship near the Gaza Strip coast to help solve the electricity crisis in the embattled enclave.
Since 2012, electricity in the Gaza Strip has been operating according to a rotation system; it works for six hours in some areas and cuts off for another six hours to provide other areas with power.
Among the factors that exacerbated the electricity crisis in Gaza are problems with the strip's infrastructure, shortage of industrial fuel required to generate electricity, as well as technical issues with Gaza's power plant.
During the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip - which lasted for 51 days and left 2,160 Palestinians dead - the strip's sole power plant went offline after its main fuel tank was targeted by Israeli airstrikes.
Even though the plant remains functional, it has stopped running due to Gaza's chronic fuel shortage.
The Gaza Strip requires 360 megawatts of electricity – of which only 200 megawatts are currently available – to meet the needs of its roughly 1.9 million residents.
Gaza currently has three sources for electricity: Israel, which provides 120 megawatts; Egypt, which supplies 28 megawatts; and Gaza's power plant, which generates between 40 and 60 megawatts daily.