U.S. military completes temporary pier off Gaza; deliveries to start within days

U.S. military completes temporary pier off Gaza; deliveries to start within days

The U.S. Army has completed a temporary pier on a Gazan beach; trucks should begin hauling away the first 500 tons of aid for civilians within days, with thousands more tons in the pipeline, Pentagon officials said Thursday. 

“We’ve been working closely with the Israeli Defense Force for six weeks to ensure every aspect of logistics, operations, command-and-control, communications, and force protection are in place. IDF engineers prepared the beach of Gaza and secured the temporary pier to the beach. This group of engineers were specially trained for this mission by U.S. Army engineers,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters on Thursday.

Here’s how it works: humanitarian assistance comes to Cyprus, where it’s placed on pallets and loaded onto commercial and military vessels. These sail 200 miles to a large floating platform that the U.S. has assembled several miles off the coast. 

“The aid goes from the floating platform, to trucks that are on the small ships, to the floating causeway, down the causeway on the land, and then the commodities are dropped off,” said Cooper. 

The aid is to be distributed by the United Nations and other non-governmental  relief organizations.

Northern Gaza is currently in a state of “full-blown famine,”  UN officials said last week.

The group Human Rights Watch has documented eight IDF strikes on aid workers in Gaza since October. 

“There is a very insecure operating environment. And the deconfliction measures are not where they need to be yet given the complexity of the environment,” Sonali Korde, the assistant to the administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, told reporters on Thursday.

Last week, the IDF closed the border crossing in Rafah in the southern portion of Gaza, which has also limited the delivery aid into the region. 

“What I can say is that there’s been a series of things that have happened and which have exacerbated the [humanitarian] needs in the past few weeks and we need to have everything open, all routes open, all crossings open. They need to be maximally utilized. And the maritime corridor is a very important new route to get additional assistance,” Korde said

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