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First Sea Delivery Successfully Brings Aid to Gaza Shores

The Spanish vessel Open Arms departed from Cyprus on Tuesday carrying 200 tonnes of food urgently needed for Gaza, a region that the UN warns is on the verge of famine.

Online videos depict a crane transferring crates from the barge to awaiting trucks on a specially constructed jetty.

This marks the initiation of a trial to assess the effectiveness of sea deliveries, following challenges encountered with air and land transport methods.

World Central Kitchen (WCK), in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), facilitated the delivery of rice, flour, legumes, canned vegetables, and proteins aboard the barge.

Since Gaza lacks a functional port, WCK’s team constructed a jetty extending from the shoreline. However, the distribution process within Gaza remains uncertain.

Celebrity chef José Andrés, founder of WCK, announced on social media that all food aid from the barge had been loaded onto 12 trucks, expressing optimism about the possibility of increasing aid shipments in the future.

Israel confirmed that it inspected the Open Arms vessel and its cargo in Cyprus, with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops deployed to secure the shoreline.

The Open Arms charity, responsible for operating the ship, shared footage of the crane operation late on Friday, highlighting the around-the-clock efforts to offload the aid.

This delivery has been eagerly awaited since the ship departed from Larnaca port on Tuesday.

If successful, this sea mission could pave the way for additional aid ships to follow suit, utilizing a newly established sea route directly to Gaza.

Additionally, the US plans to construct its own floating dock to bolster sea deliveries, with the potential to introduce two million meals per day into Gaza. However, logistical questions persist regarding this endeavor.

Ongoing military operations and social disorder have significantly impeded aid distribution, exacerbating Gaza’s food production challenges due to damaged or inaccessible farms, bakeries, and factories.

While land transport is the quickest and most efficient means of delivering aid, Israeli restrictions have limited the amount of aid reaching Gaza, according to aid agencies.

The World Food Programme temporarily suspended land deliveries due to attacks on convoys and looting. Tragically, an airdrop resulted in casualties when a parachute malfunctioned, causing the aid package to strike individuals on the ground.

The UN has issued warnings of an imminent famine in Gaza without urgent intervention, with the EU’s foreign policy chief accusing Israel of exacerbating the crisis and weaponizing starvation.

Israel has denied responsibility for Gaza’s food shortages, citing its allowance of aid through two crossings in the south and attributing logistical challenges to aid agencies.

Negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza continue, with Israel rejecting Hamas’ latest proposal. Hamas claims to have presented mediators with a comprehensive truce plan, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deems it unrealistic.

The conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostage-taking. Since then, according to Gaza’s health ministry, thousands have lost their lives in the region.

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