Ageing, destroyed infrastructure, a 10-year Israeli blockade and a new tax fight between Palestine factions has led to a major electricity crisis in the impoverished Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Outside Gaza's Rantissi Children's Hospital, the generator is going full throttle.
With electricity in Gaza down to just three to four hours a day, the machine has been running for up to 12 hours straight, powering crucial equipment in the intensive care unit (ICU) that keeps children alive.
But three weeks ago, ICU staff here faced a nightmare scenario.
"The generator just stopped working," says Muhammad Abunada, the hospital's director.
"It malfunctioned because it was overloaded."
As technicians raced to get the generator back online, doctors and nurses madly pumped away on manual respirators in order to keep their tiny patients alive.
Dr Abunada says it was an agonising 10 minutes before the machine kicked back in.
"This never happened in the history of the intensive care unit before, that we had to do manual respiration on children like this," the director tells the ABC.
Down at Gaza's seafront, you can smell the effect of the power crisis before you can see it.
Up and down the coast here, pipes spew the sewage of Gaza's 2 million residents straight into the Mediterranean, posing an environmental disaster not just for Gaza but also for neighbouring Israel and Egypt.
"More and more untreated sewage, 100,000 cubic metres a day now, is entering into the sea because there isn't enough energy around to treat it properly," says Robert Piper, the UN's top humanitarian official for Gaza.
Locals hostage to warring Palestinian factions
Gaza's energy crisis stems from a combination of political failure and deliberate policy execution.
Repeated airstrikes by Israel on Gaza's power plant since 2006 have left the electricity infrastructure in the strip in a dire state.
Meanwhile, a proposed gas plant to replace the damaged diesel facility has been delayed for years, partly due to Israel's 10-year blockade on the territory, which began when the militant, rocket-firing Islamist group Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.
But this most recent crisis is due to a tax fight between warring Palestinian factions.
Hamas says it can no longer afford to pay hefty diesel fuel taxes to the Palestinian Authority, which is run by Fatah, the Western-backed Palestinian party that rules the West Bank.
As a result, Fatah has told Israel to cut electricity to Gaza because it doesn't want to continue to subsidise its political rival.
It's a dirty game, where the misery of the people of Gaza is used as a bargaining chip for political gain by all sides.
"I think this is what's most disturbing about all this is that if you're a Gazan living in Gaza today, no-one is looking out for your interests," Mr Piper says.
"You're caught between these political conflicts. You can't leave. There is a wall around you. The air, the sea, the land is blockaded by Israeli security forces. You can't vote with your feet. You really are trapped."
This week, Mr Piper described the people of Gaza as being held "hostage" in the long-standing dispute between Fatah and Hamas.
He says if a request by the Palestinian Authority to make further cuts to Gaza's electricity is implemented, power supplies will go down to as little as two hours a day.
It is warned that this could lead to a "catastrophic" humanitarian situation in the strip.
"A further increase in the length of blackouts is likely to lead to a total collapse of basic services, including critical functions in the health, water and sanitation sectors," Mr Piper says.
'We, the ordinary people, are the victims'
As their leaders squabble, Gaza's poor feel utterly abandoned.
"When I tell my kids there is no electricity and I can't cook or bake, they don't understand," 52-year-old Um Mohammad says sadly.
In her small concrete house in the neighbourhood of Beit Lehiya, the mother of eight is trying to prepare a meal for her extended family to break their Ramadan fast.
She's spent all afternoon making dough but now the power has cut out and she can't bake.
"We, the ordinary and poor people, are the victims of the conflict between the leaders, Fatah and Hamas," she says.
"This is not a normal life. There is no power, nothing. Everything here is broken."