Israeli reduction of power supplies to the Gaza Strip has caused total collapse in all the service sectors across the enclave which has been under strict Israeli siege for 11 years.
The Gaza Strip is home to some two million people, more than three-quarters of whom the United Nations says depend on humanitarian aid.
Power reductions come despite stark warnings of the humanitarian implications for Gazan civilians, who already suffer from critical shortages of power with most homes receiving only a few hours even before the cut.
Israeli human rights group Gisha said in a statement on Monday that by reducing supplies “Israel is knowingly aggravating an already dangerous situation in which the strip is teetering on the verge of a humanitarian crisis.”
The vast majority of residents are Muslims and are currently observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Robert Piper, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, warned last week that the Palestinians were being “held hostage to this longstanding Israeli siege.
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“A further increase in the length of blackouts is likely to lead to a total collapse of basic services, including critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors,” he warned.
In a statement on Wednesday, Hamas, which controls Gaza, said Israel and the Palestinian authority President Mahmoud Abbas were jointly responsible for the “catastrophic consequences” of the reduction.