May 23, 2024 - World

Pentagon: Over 1 million pounds of aid reaches Gaza via U.S. pier

Aid arriving at U.S.' temporary pier in gaza

Aid arrives in Gaza through the U.S. temporary pier in a picture shared by the Department of Defense on May 23. Photo: Department of Defense

More than 1 million pounds of humanitarian assistance has been transferred into Gaza through the U.S.' newly finished temporary pier, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The big picture: The pier opened up a critical delivery route into Gaza, which has been beset by famine during the Israel-Hamas war as the entire population faces crisis levels of food insecurity or worse.

State of play: Two-thirds of the total aid transferred has been distributed by the United Nations further into Gaza, according to Navy Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command.

  • The effort "is being carried out as part of the United States' broader efforts alongside international partners to surge assistance to Palestinians in need," the Pentagon said in a blog post.

How it works: Aid from international donors is shipped into the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where it's screened and packaged before it's loaded onto ships that transport it into the temporary pier.

  • From there, the aid is offloaded into a marshaling area and distributed into Gaza by humanitarian organizations, per the Defense Department.

Zoom in: The U.S. military said last week that it completed construction of the pier to allow for the delivery of critical humanitarian aid to Palestinians, about two months after President Biden announced its construction.

  • The United Nations' agency for Palestinian refugees said earlier this week that it had stopped distributing food in Rafah because of insecurity in the southern Gaza city and a lack of supplies.
  • The UNRWA said its distribution center and the UN's World Food Program warehouse, both in Rafah, had become inaccessible due to ongoing military operation in the eastern part of the city.

What they're saying: The U.S. is aiming to continue increasing the flow of aid, according to Cooper.

  • "We have thousands of tons of aid in the pipeline," he said, adding "we do encourage international donors to continue their contributions so that we can sustain and increase the volume of lifesaving aid getting to the people of Gaza every day."
  • Representatives for the World Food Program did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment on aid distribution in Gaza.

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