East Africa News Post

Complete News World

News, protests on campuses and more

News, protests on campuses and more

Youth gather on a high area in Al-Zahraa, central Gaza, on April 23, 2024 (Photo/AFP via Getty Images)

A shipment of desperately needed food aid left Cyprus on Saturday for Gaza, weeks after humanitarian efforts in the besieged enclave were severely disrupted following a deadly Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers.

The killing of aid workers, six of whom were foreigners, sparked an international scandal against Israel, which claimed responsibility for the deaths. The incident also caused at least three aid providers to suspend their operations in Gaza, including WCK, which has been instrumental in the interesting new sea lane from Cyprus.

The UAE has now partnered with a relief agency to send vital aid to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod. An Emirati official told CNN that the ship loaded with vital food aid departed on Saturday thanks to a partnership with the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA).

The ship, named “Jennifer,” left the port of Larnaca in Cyprus at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET) and will take between 25 and 30 hours to reach the Israeli port of Ashdod, according to Anera's emergency team leader in the West Bank, Muhannad Etiam. .

Ettayam told CNN that 400 tons of aid will pass through Israeli security clearance upon arrival. From there, they will be loaded onto trucks that will then head south to the Kerem Shalom border crossing before entering Gaza.

The Emirati official said that his country, in partnership with Anera, “aims to provide vital aid to the people of Gaza” and that the first opportunity to leave the Kerem Shalom crossing will likely be Wednesday morning.

See also  The Society of Jesus condemns the "expulsion" of six Jesuit priests in Nicaragua

Anera prefers to use the Erez crossing into Gaza, but is not ready to receive aid trucks, Ettayam told CNN, adding that the relief agency hopes it will be opened within a week or 10 days.

Once aid enters Gaza, Eitam said his teams on the ground, which are “supported by community members and vetted by ANERA,” will physically distribute the aid, adding that the organization is coordinating with Israeli government activities in the territories. (Coordination of government activities).

The plan is to deliver most of the food aid to northern Gaza, but Etiam said that depending on the security situation, Anera could consider sending a shipment to the south as well.

The Emirati official told CNN: “Currently, the UAE has delivered more than 31,000 tons of urgent supplies, including food, relief and medical materials, sent via 249 flights, 38 airdrops, 1,160 trucks and three ships.” Adding that it will continue to explore “all ways” to maximize the delivery of aid to the enclave.

Ashdod Port, April 5, 2024, after the Israeli Cabinet approved the temporary use of the port to send aid to Gaza. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

News of the ship's departure came hours after the Royal Navy announced that its support ship, RFA Cardigan Bay, had set sail from Cyprus to support international efforts to build a temporary dock off the coast of Gaza.

The Pentagon announced Thursday that the United States has already begun construction of the dock, which aims to help deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The British ship will “provide accommodation for hundreds of American sailors and soldiers working on the construction of the pier,” according to a Royal Navy statement.

See also  All thermal and hydroelectric power plants in Ukraine were damaged

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is essential that we create more routes to deliver vital humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza,” adding that the British ship’s crew “play a crucial role in the UK’s contribution to the significantly expanded plan.” Aid flows into Gaza.

The statement went on to say that British forces are working with American teams in the United States, as well as in Cyprus, to “jointly develop the safest and most effective sea route.”

A senior US military official confirmed on Thursday that they are already on their way “to begin delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza from the sea in early May.”

In Gaza, aid is arriving slowly, but aid agencies say it is insufficient to provide adequate relief to the Palestinians.

“People need food aid every day, and we can get trucks every day, but it's not enough,” Matthew Hollingsworth, of the World Food Programme, said earlier.

Gaza's 2.2 million people do not have enough food, and half of the population on the brink of famine is expected to arrive in the north “any time between mid-March and May,” according to the Integrated Food Safety Phase Classification (IPC). ).

CNN's Nadine Ibrahim, Jeremy Diamond, Eugenia Youssef, Alex Marquardt and Mustafa Salem contributed reporting.