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Home > News > World News > Article > More aid getting from US pier to people in Gaza officials say after troubled launch

More aid getting from US pier to people in Gaza, officials say, after troubled launch

Updated on: 24 May,2024 12:34 PM IST  |  Washington
mid-day online correspondent |

One man in the crowd was shot dead in still-unexplained circumstances. It led to a two-day suspension of aid distribution

More aid getting from US pier to people in Gaza, officials say, after troubled launch

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment in eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Pics/AFP

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More aid getting from US pier to people in Gaza, officials say, after troubled launch

American authorities announced on Thursday that although conditions are difficult, the six-day-old U.S. pier project in Gaza is beginning to provide more aid to Palestinians in need. This is indicative of the more significant issues associated with providing food and other necessities to the starving residents of the besieged area. Launching into problems, the floating pier's contents were taken over the weekend by crowds that pushed through some of the first trucks arriving via the new U.S.-led sea route. One man in the crowd was shot dead in still unexplained circumstances. It led to a two-day suspension of aid distribution.

Per an AP report, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper of the United States told reporters on Thursday that the U.S. military chose safer detours for trucks leaving the pier in collaboration with U.N. and Israeli authorities. Consequently, the United States reported that on Wednesday, the U.S. pier accounted for 27 out of the 70 trucks of supplies that the U.N. was able to gather from all land and sea crossings into Gaza for distribution to people.

That only makes up a small portion of the 150 truckloads of food, emergency nutrition therapy, and other supplies that American officials hope to import when the sea channel is operating at full capacity. Furthermore, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that 600 trucks must enter Gaza every day to stop a famine that has started in the north and prevent it from spreading south. This is according to the directors of USAID and the U.N. World Food Programme.

According to U.S. officials, only one of the 54 trucks that left the pier on Tuesday and Wednesday ran into security problems while travelling to relief warehouses and distribution centres. They described the problems as "minor," but they did not elaborate. Aid supplies cannot pass through the crossing in the southern city of Rafah, which is a vital supply of food and fuel for Gaza, due to an intensifying Israeli attack. Humanitarian organisations claim that Israeli military activities make it harder for them to recover aid there for distribution, despite Israel's claims that it is bringing help in through another border crossing, Kerem Shalom.

The Biden administration last week launched the $320 million floating pier for a new maritime aid route into Gaza as the seven-month-old Israel-Hamas war and Israeli restrictions on land crossings have severely limited food deliveries to 2.3 million Palestinians. For all humanitarian efforts, 'the risks are manifold,' Daniel Dieckhaus, USAID's response director for Gaza, said at a briefing with Cooper. 'This is an active conflict with deteriorating conditions.'

Dieckhaus dismissed accusations made by certain humanitarian organisations that the pier is drawing attention away from the imperative that Israel grant complete access to land crossings for humanitarian supplies, as stated by the United States, the United Nations, and assistance agencies. For example, former USAID employee and current head of Refugees International Jeremy Konyndyk stated that "the pier is humanitarian theatre."

'I would not call, within a couple of days, getting enough food and other supplies for tens of thousands of people for a month theatre,' Dieckhaus said Thursday when asked about the criticism. At maximum capacity, the pier would bring in enough food for 500,000 of Gaza's people. U.S. officials stressed the need for flow through open land crossings for the remaining 1.8 million.

(With Inputs from AP)

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