Middle East

US military starts delivering aid to Gaza through floating pier

Colin McCullough and Jessie Yeung

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza have begun moving ashore after arriving through the floating pier built by the US military, according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

The pier was anchored to a beach in Gaza on Thursday and will be used to funnel aid from various countries into the besieged strip, with all other border crossings closed and a catastrophic humanitarian disaster unfolding inside.

The US, which began building the $320 million pier in late April, has emphasized it is a temporary measure that is “entirely humanitarian in nature and will involve aid commodities donated by a number of countries and humanitarian organizations.”

No US troops went ashore in Gaza, according to the CENTCOM statement.

Aid first arrives from abroad to Cyprus, before being brought by ship to a floating platform near the Gaza coast, then finally transported to the floating pier and loaded onto trucks to distribute on land.

The goal is to get about 500 tons of humanitarian assistance into Gaza through the pier daily, said Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command, in a news briefing on Thursday. That means about 90 trucks a day, and the goal is to build up to 150 trucks a day.

The new maritime corridor is coming at a critical moment – with the Rafah border closing into Gaza having been closed for more than a week, preventing aid from getting through. The Rafah crossing was the only one between Gaza and Egypt – with all other border points in the strip controlled by Israel.

The US State Department warned that only 50 humanitarian aid trucks made it through to Gaza on Sunday, down from hundreds per day in previous weeks, adding that the number is “not nearly enough.”

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