ISLAMABAD - Anatolia News Agency
Children sit around a woman who cooks lunch in the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan. AP photo
The chronic energy crisis that Pakistan has been facing for years is deepening, with two of the country’s large hydroelectric power plants having come to a halt due to a fall in the water level.
Pakistan’s energy gap has risen to 40 percent, as the plant has stopped producing energy.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar has said the situation is being closely followed and that the ministry will try to decrease the energy gap by employing all energy resources. Some plans to increase energy efficiency will be put in place, he added.
Ministry officials said the energy gap on Sunday had reached 8,100 megawatts and that the figure is estimated to surpass 13,000 megawatts as the temperature rises.
Pakistani people have started protesting electricity cuts, which can last as long as 8 to 10 hours in big cities and 16 to 20 hours in rural areas. Protests were made in all the large cities of Pakistan, blocking the main roads, burning tires and clashing with the police. Police fired guns into the air and used tear gas bombs to disperse demonstrators.
The Pakistani government has signed energy deals with Iran, China, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to tackle the power shortages in the medium term.
Similar power shortages that arose in 2006 inflicted a significant blow on the south Asian country’s industrial and agricultural production.
Gaza strip hit by power crisis
GAZA CITY – Agence France-Presse
The Gaza Strip’s sole power station shuddered to a halt March 25, leaving residents without current for long periods and endangering the lives of hospital patients, officials said.
Just 48 hours after some 450,000 liters of fuel were delivered to the coastal strip from Israel
on March 23, the Gaza Power Authority said its tanks had run dry. Consumers were being rationed to eight hours of power supply a day, local residents said.
“The generating station in Gaza City was stopped completely this morning after two days of working,” the authority said in a statement, calling on “all parties to take immediate measures to solve the fuel crisis completely and permanently.”
Bassem Naim, health minister in Gaza’s Hamas-run government, said the fuel shortage was placing lives in jeopardy.