U.S. Ship With Humanitarian Aid For Gaza To Depart Cyprus Port Via Newly Built Pier

Pier
Image Credits: Department of Defense/Twitter

Aid meant for delivery in Gaza was stacked onto a vessel in Cyprus on 8 April.

This is the first round of cargo to be delivered via a US-built pier to expedite the supplies to the besieged enclave.

Containers were stacked on the US-flagged Sagamore and docked at the port of Larnaca on the same day.

Some containers going to the vessel were labelled as aid from the UAE.

The relevant people involved are completing the loading of aid onto a US vessel now in Larnaca, and once the platform is in place, this part of the process (shipment) can commence, mentioned Konstantinos Letymbiotis, a spokesperson associated with the Cyprus government.

It remained unknown, however, when the vessel would sail.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that it had finished constructing the pier and hoped to relocate it off the Gaza coast later this week.

A Biden administration official stated last month that aid arriving from the US pier will have to pass through Israeli checkpoints demarcated on land.

This is despite the fact that Israel had already assessed the supplies in Cyprus before shipping them to Gaza.

The prospect of checkpoints raises some pertinent questions regarding the possible delays even after the aid reaches shore.

The UN has long complained of obstacles to receiving and distributing aid throughout Gaza.

The UN has been discussing with the US the seamless distribution of aid once it comes off the pier.

A UN spokesperson was unaware of the happenings on Wednesday when questioned about the status of the discussions.

Last month, Sigrid Kaag, the UN humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, said that they have been able to determine parameters under which the UN family is able and in a place to receive/distribute goods.

However, several international NGOs are looking forward to participating in the distribution of goods arriving via the maritime corridor.

According to Kaag, some of the criteria that are being discussed involve effective deconfliction, the UN’s ability to distribute aid throughout Gaza, and the UN’s ability to maintain neutrality by remaining at a suitable distance from Israel’s military, which will offer security and logistics support for the pier.

The UN has also said explicitly that sea access was not a replacement for land delivery, which must remain the primary focus of humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, in response to Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, has devastated the Gaza Strip.

Aid agencies have been warning that its 2.3 million people in Gaza are already suffering imminent famine.

Cyprus opened up a sea corridor in March this year to help ship aid to Gaza, where deliveries through land have significantly been disrupted by border closures as well as Israeli military operations.

US-based charity World Food Kitchen used the route twice before seven workers were killed through a brutal Israeli air strike on 1 April.

Reference: Reuters

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