By Yousef M. Aljamal – Gaza
Three Palestinian children burned to death after their house caught fire in Alshatee refugee camp, in the Gaza Strip. The fire resulted from lighting candles due to the continuing 10-year electricity outage crisis sweeping the Gaza Strip.
The three children, Yousri, 3, Rahaf, 2, Nasser, 2-month old all perished in the blaze. Three other siblings also suffered from burns, two of whom are in a critical condition.
Raed Aldahshan, the Director of the Civil Defense Service in the Gaza Strip said: “The fire resulted from using candles and a gas leak.”
Local sources from Alshatee refugee camp told the Palestine Chronicle that the fire erupted in parts of a rented apartment belonging to the Abu Hindi family. Locals and civil defense services who rushed to the site during the night arrived to find that the three kids burned to death.
Situations of houses catching alight are not uncommon in Gaza. The Gaza Strip has been suffering from electricity outages for the last ten years after Israel targeted the only power plant in the costal enclave in 2006 and 2014. Israel and Egypt provide the Gaza Strip with some electricity, however, both lines suffer technical problems repeatedly.
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Hamas has accused the Palestinian government in the West Bank of imposing taxes on the fuel needed to operate the power plant, thus worsening the crisis, while the Palestinian government in Ramallah accuses Hamas of mismanaging the Gaza Strip. It calls for handing the Strip over as stated in the reconciliation agreement reached in 2014 in Alshatee, the same refugee camp in which the very three children were burned to death.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad called on the Palestinian government in the West Bank to “take responsibility towards the Gaza Strip by ending the ongoing electricity crisis,” as reported by Shehab News Agency.
The incident provoked an outcry on social media and Palestinians called for the resignation of officials and bringing them account for the deaths.
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A video circulated on Facebook show the mother of the three children asking about her children, while being comforted by a woman next to her, saying: “They are alive.”
Dozens of Palestinians, many of them children, were burned to death in the same way as the three victims, due to the reliance on candles as a result of the continuing electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip.
– Yousef M. Aljamal is Palestine Chronicle Correspondent in the Gaza Strip.