Off the coast of Gaza, trucks loaded with aid depart from an American military pier, only to remain uncollected



CNN

After a series of unfortunate incidents, humanitarian aid trucks are now arriving at the US military pier off the coast of Gaza at a more steady pace.

But enormous problems still loom.

The US military says it is now transporting about 800 pallets of humanitarian aid daily into Gaza via the temporary dock, or approximately 40 trucks. But currently, this aid is not helping to alleviate the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza, where more than two million people are facing a crisis, emergency or catastrophic levels of food insecurity, according to WHO estimates. New report.

US military officials said more than 6,000 pallets of aid delivered via the pier were stacked up waiting to be received on the beach, where the World Food Program had suspended aid collection due to security concerns.

CNN was allowed access to the pier on Tuesday for the first time since it was first installed on the Gaza coast last month, and witnessed trucks emerge from a logistics ship, through the pier and onto the Gaza beach.

Leo Correa/AFP

US Army soldiers stand next to trucks arriving loaded with humanitarian aid to the US-built Trident floating dock before coming ashore on the coast of the Gaza Strip on June 25, 2024.

The pier consists of interlocking floating platforms made of hundreds of tons of steel that vibrate with each wave passing underneath. Towboats on both sides help keep the platform stable. An Israeli military contingent is responsible for ensuring the security of US military personnel and civilian truck drivers in the area, and the US C-RAM air defense system capable of intercepting mortar shells provides an additional layer of protection.

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The visit also provided CNN with a rare opportunity to see up close the massive devastation caused by the nearly nine-month-long war on the Gaza coast, where most buildings were visible either flattened or severely damaged.

Sgt. MALCOLM COHENS-ASHLEY/AP/File

Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and USAID pass the Trident Pier before arriving ashore in the Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024.

Beyond the bombed buildings, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is becoming increasingly desperate again, especially in northern Gaza, where Hunger is on the rise. Humanitarian aid operations in Gaza have been severely hampered by an increase in Israeli military operations over the past month, and humanitarian officials say chaos and looting are on the rise.

The Israeli military says it has brought hundreds of aid trucks into Gaza recently, blaming the lack of capacity of humanitarian aid agencies for not collecting and distributing the aid. But aid groups say their efforts are hampered by a lack of communication with the Israeli military, putting them at risk of being caught in the crossfire.

US President Joe Biden announced plans to build the pier during his State of the Union address, pledging that it would “allow for a massive increase” in humanitarian aid reaching Gaza.

But bad weather and rough waves hampered these efforts, damaging the pier and putting it out of action for weeks over the past month and a half.

The Pentagon said it is committed to keeping the pier operational, despite reports that it is considering shutting down the project altogether.

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In response to criticism from humanitarian aid groups that the $230 million US effort would have been better spent pressuring Israel to deliver more aid to Gaza via land routes, Captain Joel Stewart, the senior Navy officer involved in the operation, told CNN that the pier was closed. . The goal was always to be a “quick response” and not a “long-term solution.”

“The sea is a tough job, lady. It’s unpredictable. Every wave is different from the last, so dealing with that is a challenge, but we have adapted to that and I think we are in a better position now than we were at the beginning,” he said.

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