Where is Gaza aid stuck? US facing logistical and security hurdles in delivering help even as 2.2m face starvation - Hindustan Times
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Where is Gaza aid stuck? US facing logistical and security hurdles in delivering help even as 2.2m face starvation

May 22, 2024 04:47 PM IST

Pentagon has confirmed, none of the aid unloaded from the temporary pier, constructed off the Gaza coast, has reached people.

The United States' efforts to deliver humanitarian aid worth 500 tons daily to war struck Gaza has been significantly hindered.

People look on as Palestinians inspect boats damaged in Israeli fire, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled(REUTERS)
People look on as Palestinians inspect boats damaged in Israeli fire, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled(REUTERS)

According to the Pentagon, none of the aid unloaded from the temporary pier, constructed off the Gaza coast, has reached the people. This delay has been worsened even as the US, alongside the United Nations and Israel, are working hard to identify secure delivery routes within the enclave.

Pentagon's admission comes when situation in Gaza remains dire. Sonali Korde from the US Agency for International Development highlighted the worsening conditions, told CNN, "Across Gaza, 2.2 million people, the entire population, is facing acute food insecurity."

Also Read: UN halts humanitarian aid after running out of supply

Over the past week, the US has managed to transport 569 tons of aid to Gaza through a makeshift pier known as Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS). Despite this, the aid has faced numerous logistical obstacles.

Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder stated, "As of today, I do not believe any of the aid has been delivered to the people of Gaza." Ryder explained that the aid had been held in an assembly area on shore and only began moving to warehouses for distribution once alternative routes were established.

This initiative to deliver aid via the pier has not met initial expectations. Adm. Brad Cooper of the US Naval Forces Central Command had hoped to transport 500 tons of aid daily, a target that remains unmet due to logistical and security issues.

The challenges extend beyond transportation logistics. Last weekend, trucks carrying aid were intercepted by desperate Gazans, prompting the UN to suspend delivery operations temporarily. A Gaza resident expressed skepticism to CNN, "I don’t understand this floating pier or what its purpose is. They say it’s for aid, but people are apprehensive. Is this aid or something else?"

US working with Israel and UN to establish alternative route

In response to these challenges, the US is collaborating with Israel and the UN to establish "alternative routes" for safe delivery. This collaboration includes efforts to facilitate aid through land routes and addressing logistical issues like sea and weather conditions. US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is in discussions with Israeli counterparts to secure land crossings, including through Rafah, which remains a critical but complex point of entry.

Moreover, the US has conducted several humanitarian air drops in partnership with the Royal Jordanian Air Force, though the future regularity of these drops remains uncertain.

During White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s recent visit to the Middle East, discussions with Israeli officials included "specific requests" for facilitating aid distribution. This included scanning aid in Cyprus before its direct shipment to the Israeli port of Ashdod, bypassing Egypt to expedite delivery.

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