April 21, 2024

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Gaza aid reaches shore in first sea shipment

Gaza aid reaches shore in first sea shipment

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The canoes were used to push a barge loaded with food aid from the Open Arms ship to a purpose-built jetty

The first ship towing a barge carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza unloaded its cargo on the beach.

The Spanish ship Open Arms left Cyprus on Tuesday, carrying 200 tons of badly needed food for Gaza, which the United Nations says is on the brink of famine.

Videos posted online show a crane transferring boxes from the barge to trucks waiting on a purpose-built jetty.

This marks the beginning of an experiment to see whether sea deliveries are effective, after air and ground deliveries have proven difficult.

The World Central Kitchen (WCK), which supplied the food supplies, carried out the mission in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates, delivering the barge load of rice, flour, legumes, canned vegetables and canned proteins.

Gaza does not have a functioning port, so a jetty was built off the beach by the WCK team. It is still unclear how food will be distributed in Gaza.

WCK founder, celebrity chef José Andrés, Written on X (Previously Twitter) that all food aid from the barge was loaded into 12 trucks.

“We did it!” He wrote, adding that this was a test to see if they could bring in more aid in the next shipment — up to “thousands of tons per week.”

Israel said in a statement that the Open Arms ship and its cargo were searched in Cyprus, and Israeli army forces were deployed to secure the beach.

Video explanation,

Raising aid to Gaza to shore from the barge

Teams worked through the night to deliver aid to dry lands. This delivery has been highly anticipated since the ship set off from Larnaca port on Tuesday.

If this naval mission is deemed successful, other aid ships are likely to follow as part of an international effort to deliver more aid to Gaza. The ships will use a newly opened sea route to travel directly to the region.

Separately, the United States plans to build its own floating dock off the coast to boost sea deliveries. The White House says it could see two million meals a day entering Gaza, but while a military ship is on its way with equipment on board to build the dock, questions remain about the logistics of the plan.

Military operations and the collapse of social order have severely hampered aid distribution, while food production in Gaza has been severely affected, with farms, bakeries and factories destroyed or becoming inaccessible.

The fastest and most effective way to get aid into the Strip is by land, but aid agencies say Israeli restrictions mean only a small fraction of what is needed gets through.

The World Food Program was forced to temporarily halt ground deliveries after convoys came under fire and looting. The airdrop operation turned deadly last week when five people were reportedly killed when a parachute malfunctioned and they were hit by the aid package.

Israel has strongly denied being responsible for the food shortage in Gaza because it allows aid to pass through two crossings in the south. Instead, it blamed aid agencies for logistical failures.

Negotiations on a ceasefire in Gaza are still ongoing. On Friday, Israel rejected the latest proposal made by Hamas.

The war began when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 253 hostage. The Hamas-run Health Ministry says more than 31,400 people have been killed in Gaza since then.

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