The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses deep sorrow over the death of 3 children and the injury of 2 other chidren from one family, in a blaze that broke out in their house, cause by a gas leakage. The family was using a small gas cylinder for lighting during an electricity cut. PCHR reiterates that the electricity crisis facing the Gaza Strip for over 6 years now, will continue to have disastrous impacts on the lives of people, and their right to life and personal security.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Tuesday evening, 12 March 2013, a fire broke out in a house belonging to Nizam Ahmed Abu Tair in ‘Abassan village, east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. The blaze was caused by gas leakage from a small lighting gas cylinder, locally known as Shanbar. The blaze burnt the room where Abu Tair’s 5 children were, killing 5-year-old Qassem Nizam Abu Tair, and injuring his 4 siblings: Maria, 7; Wassim, 11; Ma’ath, 14; and Mohammed, 16. The children were all evacuated to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. One hour later, Maria died from her injuries, and on Wednesday evening, 13 March 2013, Wassim passed away. The other two children are still receiving medical treatment in the ICU.
The number of persons killed since the beginning of 2013 in accidents resulting from the use unsafe alternative means of lighting during electricity outages, such as candles, small lighting gas cylinders and electricity generators, has mounted to 11, including 8 children.
PCHR expresses its deep sorrow over the deaths of the 3 children, and repeats its warning of the continued deterioration of humanitarian conditions of the population of the Gaza Strip as a result of the chronic electricity crisis. PCHR calls upon concerned parties to fulfill their obligations towards the population of the Gaza Strip, taking practical steps to end this crisis which has been ongoing for more than 6 years. PCHR reminds that the ongoing political split has exacerbated the already deteriorating humanitarian conditions under which the population of the Gaza Strip lives, lacking basic supplies, especially electricity. Until this crisis is completely solved, PCHR calls upon concerned parties to raise awareness of safe alternatives for energy and lighting during power outages, in order to avoid more tragedies and loss of life.