Ref: 38/2014


The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
(PCHR) is deeply sorry for the death of 2 sisters as their family house caught
fire due to using a candle during the power outage according to the power
schedule in the Gaza Strip. PCHR reiterates its warning that the power crisis
in the Gaza Strip will result in more catastrophic impacts on all aspects of
life, including the civilians’ right to life and security of person.


According to investigations conducted by
PCHR, at approximately 22:52 on Wednesday, 26 March 2014, a house belonging to
the family of Fat’hi Ahmed Sheikh Eid in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip,
caught fire due to using a candle to lighten up the house during the power
outage. As a result of the fire that burnt the whole bedroom, two sisters: Ghena
Fat’hi Ahmed Sheikh Eid (2) and Malak (4) died and their two other sisters:
Nada (6) and Shahd (10) sustained serious burns. They were taken to Abu Yusef
al-Najjar Hospital and then to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis to receive the
necessary medical treatment.


Fathi Ahmed Sheikh al-‘Eid (44), the father
of the children, said to a PCHR fieldworker that:

“At approximately 22:52 on Wednesday, 26
March 2014, I was with my brother in his store on the ground floor of my house
when neighbors told me that fire broke out in my house and smoke was coming out
of it.  I immediately headed to the house
and saw flames coming from my children’s room. 
Despite the flames, I managed to rescue my daughter, Nada, but because
the flames grew more intense, I could not come back to the room.  I lost consciousness and was taken to Abu
Yousif al-Najjar Hospital. An hour later, I was told that my two daughters,
Ghena and Malak passed away and that Nada and Shahd sustained serious
burns.  My daughters were taken to Abu
Yousif al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah and from there, they were transferred to
Naser Hospital in Khan Younis to receive medical treatment.”


PCHR is deeply sorry for the deaths of
the two children and:

1. Calls upon all the competent authorities to
launch campaigns to raise awareness on using alternatives during the power
outages to reduce the catastrophic impacts of the misuse of such alternatives
and calls upon civilians to follow the public safety standards and keep
children away from the risks of using the power alternatives;

2. Reiterates its warning against the
deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip due to the power
crisis and calls upon the competent authorities to fulfill their obligations
towards the Gaza Strip’s population, take practical steps and exert all efforts
needed to guarantee a solution for this crisis, which has been persistent for 7
years; and

3. PCHR reminds that political conflict and
internal division have aggravated the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip
in view of the lack of basic needs, especially electricity supplies,  and stresses that the political split means
more waste of economic, social and cultural rights along with civil and
political rights of the Gaza Strip’s population.