Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
Three brothers died in a house fire in the Al-Shati Palestinian refugee camp in Gaza City.The fire was caused by a candle the family was using for lighting. The incident has brought attention to the lack of electricity especially among the poor.
A 2010 study said that 29 people died as a result of using candles, 24 of them were children
The residents of the Gaza Strip suffer from constant ,if not daily,power outages that can last up to 12 hours or more. If there is power, it will only last for 6 hours a day.
This has sparked a heated debate between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority trying to find culpability.
The continuing crisis of power outages without solutions in sight, the Palestinians in Gaza have resorted to finding alternative sources of illumination. These are limited to only to those who can afford it.
A campaign was launched by activists and philanthropists to replace candles with LED emergency lights in thousands of homes. The project has cost $50,000. They have provided 1000 homes with the LED lights that includes an extension cord and a backup battery. The LED lights are easy to use along with being safer, says the head of occupational safety. They are built on the same technology as that is used in cellphone flash. It is a circuit board that can be hung on the wall. The circuit board is a series of flashes.
Ahamd Alraishy who sells a store that sells lighting equipment and batteries informed Afaaq/Horizons magazine that sales of the LED lights have gone up since the unfortunate incident.He says” They can last for up to 6 hours and give off adequate illumination. It is easy to charge and keep in stock because they are manufactured cheaply in china”.
They are an economical alternative to generators. The price of fuel from Israel has increased Fuel is needed to power generators. Fuel is unaffordable to the 70% of Gazan population depends on international aid and public assistance
Mohammed Najjar a student in Al shata’ camp has benefitted tremendously from LED lights. Before using it he could only stay up an hour using a candle to study by in the dark night. He regrets not being able to use the precious night hours before for studying. Studying by candlelight has negatively affected his eyesight.
The LED lights have been a quick solution and alternative to conventional lighting. This does have a price
Doctor Fadl Al Astl , an ophthalmologist, advises for proper lighting in people’s homes.
LED lights do not give proper lighting. They have an intense source that does not reflect well. It is not a suitable substitute for proper lighting. LED lighting should not be looked at directly and used at a distance. He has also warned that the battery is flammable and caution should be used. The result of improper battery usage has resulted in the battery exploding.
He has treated cases of injuries from the debris of the exploding batteries.
Translated by: Kefah Abukhdeir