Gaza City: Gaza`s lone power station rumbled to life on Sunday for the first time in more than seven weeks after receiving a long-awaited delivery of diesel, the electricity company said.
The Hamas-ruled enclave has struggled with massive flooding caused by winter downpours that began Wednesday when a huge storm struck the Middle East, pummelling Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"The power station started reworking gradually after stopping for 50 days," said Jamal Dirsawi, spokesman for the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO).
The plant, which supplies some 30 per cent of Gaza`s electricity needs, fell silent on November 1 as stocks of diesel to power it ran out.
"The first generator has started working, the second one will follow, and by this evening, the company should be able to generate around 60 megawatts of electricity," Dirsawi said.
Gaza has been suffering the most serious fuel crisis in its history, causing daily power outages of up to 16 hours, which hit homes, schools, hospitals, businesses, and water and sanitation plants.
The power station returned to life after receiving a delivery of fuel purchased from Israel by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority using funds donated by Qatar.
The PA helped facilitate the delivery via Israel, which the militant Hamas does not recognise.
Following a request from the United Nations, Israel on Friday allowed the transfer of gas for domestic heating and fuel pumps for draining floodwater.
And in addition to the fuel for the power plant, Gaza would also receive "800,000 litres of diesel fuel for transportation... And another 200 tonnes of household gas," the Israeli army said in a statement.
Raed Fatuh, the PA official in charge of the transfer of goods into Gaza, said deliveries of diesel and gas would continue on Monday and Tuesday.
Torrential rains that began on Wednesday caused heavy flooding in Gaza, with thousands of residents evacuated from their homes and seeking refuge in schools.
An AFP correspondent said today the water level was dropping, but many residents were still stranded.
A UN statement that "approximately 10,000 persons had been evacuated from their homes as a result of flooding".
Israel and the Palestinian territories have been pummelled by the fiercest storm in decades, with many areas cut off by heavy snowfall, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.