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US Military Facilitates Humanitarian Aid to Gaza via Floating Piers

Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid have started reaching Gaza through a floating pier constructed by the US military, announced the US Central Command (CENTCOM). This pier, anchored on a Gazan beach on Thursday, aims to channel aid from multiple countries into the besieged enclave amidst the ongoing humanitarian crisis caused by closed border crossings.

No US troops have set foot in Gaza, CENTCOM confirmed. The objective, according to CENTCOM Commander Adm. Brad Cooper, is to deliver approximately 500 tons of aid daily through the pier, equating to about 90 truckloads, with plans to scale up to 150 trucks per day.

A ship is expected to unload aid at the pier on Friday, though it is unclear if unloading has commenced, a UN official told CNN. The distribution plan involves alternating between northern and southern Gaza daily.

The timing of this initiative is critical, as the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been closed for over a week, blocking aid deliveries. All other border points are controlled by Israel.

How Will Aid Be Delivered Through the Floating Pier?

Initially, the pier will facilitate the delivery of about 90 truckloads of essential aid daily, potentially increasing to 150 truckloads, equivalent to roughly 2 million meals per day once fully operational.

  • Aid arrives in Cyprus, where it undergoes screening.
  • Large commercial and military vessels transport the aid to a floating platform 3 miles offshore.
  • Smaller vessels, carrying 5 to 15 trucks, ferry the aid to the temporary pier.
  • Trucks transport the aid from the pier to shore.
  • The United Nations distributes the aid within Gaza.

Construction And Operation Of The Pier

The US commenced the pier’s construction in late April, costing $320 million and involving 1,000 US soldiers and sailors. As a temporary, purely humanitarian measure, pieces for the pier were shipped from the US East Coast, assembled off Gaza’s coast, with final assembly in the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Aid delivered via the pier follows several steps: it reaches Cyprus by air or sea, is screened and palletized, then transported to a floating platform near Gaza, and finally moved to the pier and loaded onto trucks for distribution.

The pier complements, rather than replaces, land routes for aid delivery. “This maritime route is additive,” Cooper said, emphasizing it does not substitute land crossings.

Current Aid Situation In Gaza

Most land crossings into Gaza are either closed or congested due to extensive Israeli inspections. This has led to criticisms of air-dropped aid being insufficient. The UN has warned of impending famine in Gaza, urging Israel to open more land crossings. Despite Israel’s claim of aid flowing through various routes, the actual volume is significantly below the needed 500 trucks per day.

The UN’s OCHA highlighted that crossings are often closed, unsafe, or logistically unfeasible, complicating aid distribution amid ongoing conflict and infrastructure challenges, affecting over 2 million residents of Gaza.