US confirms first aid trucks arrive via Gaza pier

The first shipment of humanitarian aid has arrived in Gaza via a temporary floating pier, the US military has confirmed.

US Central Command said that aid trucks began moving ashore at about 09:00 local time (07:00 BST) on Friday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the delivery of 8,400 plastic shelters was “the culmination of a herculean joint international effort”.

About 500 tonnes of British aid including tents, hygiene kits and forklift trucks is expected to be delivered via the pier, built by US armed forces, in the coming weeks.

“This is an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor that is entirely humanitarian in nature,” the US Central Command said in a statement on X, adding that no US troops went ashore.

“More aid will follow, but we know the maritime route is not the only answer,” Mr Sunak said.

“We need to see more land routes open, including via the Rafah crossing, to ensure much more aid gets safely to civilians in desperate need of help.”

The UK has played a supporting role in the construction of the pier, which was anchored to the shore on Thursday, providing accommodation for US personnel on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Cardigan Bay.

Reuters An overhead shot of the Gaza pier under constructions
The aid will be collected from a floating base before being transported to Gaza

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said the maritime route was “just one part of the bigger picture” and land routes were “the most effective means of getting aid into Gaza at the scale needed”.

He added: “Gazans are at risk of famine and in desperate need of supplies – Israel must ensure land routes are open and that aid gets safely to where it is needed.”

The pier is expected to provide access for 90 truckloads of aid at first, increasing to 150 truckloads once it is fully operational.

Both the prime minister and Lord Cameron reiterated calls for Israel to meet its commitment to allow at least 500 aid trucks a day into Gaza through land crossings, and to open as many routes as possible for aid to access the territory.

British personnel have been working with US counterparts aboard RFA Cardigan Bay to build and operate the pier.

The US began building the floating base weeks ago to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza as Israel continues its military campaign against Hamas.

About 2.2 million Palestinians are in need of food, shelter and other assistance.

Hundreds of tonnes of aid arrived in Cyprus on Wednesday where it was screened before being loaded on to commercial ships for delivery to the pier.

Smaller US military vessels – capable of carrying between five and 15 lorries of aid – then transported it to the floating pier, which is several hundred metres long and fixed to the beach in Gaza.

The lorries travelled along the pier before dropping off the aid at a marshalling yard on the beach.

Authorities said that the UN, primarily the World Food Programme, would be responsible for the onward distribution of aid.

Satellite image showing the Gaza floating pier and how it will deliver aid

Aid deliveries to the territory have slowed down since Israeli forces took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing last week.

Earlier this month, the key crossing of Kerem Shalom was shut overnight by Israel which said four of its soldiers had been killed in a Hamas rocket attack near the crossing.

Delivering aid to Gaza via land routes can be dangerous, with aid convoys at times looted by gangs and mobbed by desperate civilians.

In April, seven aid workers from the organisation World Central Kitchen were killed by an Israeli drone strike.

Ministry of Defence British army personnel wearing life jackets aboard RFA Cardigan Bay
The UK government has confirmed that British personnel helped deliver enough provisions to feed 11,000 people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblocker Detected

Turn Off your Adblocker to continue.